The Face Looking Back

Have you ever looked in the mirror and evaluated the face looking back?  I mean a real deep look.  The type that makes you uncomfortable, almost as if you are seeing something you shouldn’t.  The type that bothers you a few hours later.  It is an interesting feeling.  One such that more people should experience.  Self-reflection.

Am I doing what I want to be doing?

Am I who I want to be? Am I living my life?

Now, most blogs and articles move on from this point in a very obvious direction.  The playbook is simple.  Throw in some quotes about finding your passion, link to Steve Jobs’ Stanford Commencement speech, and tell the reader he or she is beautiful.

I am not going to do that though.  I am taking the road less traveled.  I am going to admit something I feel very strongly about.  It isn’t me that needs to change.  I am not the one going down someone else’s path.  This isn’t a personal reflection of my life.  In fact, I love my life.  I’m doing pretty well for myself.

So what was that I saw behind my eyes? What did that curtain cover up?

As I said, the problem isn’t me. It’s you.  (Maybe not you in particular, but you, society).  You suck.

You have become some blob of forced political correctness and generalized acceptance.  You have forbidden individualism by forcing collectivism through individuality.  Everyone should be unique and you cannot question anything about anyone.  No sir, everyone is perfect.  You aren’t though.  You aren’t even close.  You are just a list of excuses most of which point back to a lack of effort.

Education.  Infrastructure.  Privacy.  Health & Well-being. The Environment.  Insert your topic here, the story is always the same.  The path chosen is the on of least resistance You want what you want without regard to long-term consequences or those around you.  (And yet, they refer to people under 30 as the ‘Me First’ generation).

We are in a race to the bottom because we refuse to acknowledge that we are addicted to kicking the can down the road.  And because we have a representative democracy, we would rather say “money buys elections” than realize it is our failure to do more than five minutes of research on the issues and demand that we have a candidate with a clear plan to address those issues.

So…stop it.  Stop pretending to be outraged at everything for the five minutes it is cool to be outraged about it on Social Media.  Take a stand about something and come up with a plan to fix it.  Laying down on the ground to protest police brutality is great… at accomplishing nothing.  Posting that you pretended to watch Kony 2012 solved exactly 0 problems in the world.  Pretending that voting for one of the two generic politicians that is pushed out in front of you is an expression of your voice only so much in that it confirms that you prefer superficial lip service as opposed to hard truths.

Life takes more than 3 seconds of effort.  It is an uphill battle, always.  Crying about some “silver spoon in their mouths” family living 3,000 miles away from you is just an excuse.  It is a mere hope that doing so will distract everyone around you from the fact that you are scared shitless of taking the first step.

I am telling you.  Stop it.  Take the first step.  You probably aren’t as beautiful as your friends say you are to your face.  You probably aren’t as interesting as you think you are.  You definitely don’t have it all figured out.  No one cares that you don’t feel great about yourself because they, themselves, have 19 trillion things on their list that are higher priority than your feelings.

Direct truth and accountability, that is the prescription.  If you are pissed about life, figure out what needs to be done to make it better.  The go do that thing.  That solution just better not include knocking people down around you.  Why?  Because why the shit should anyone care about you or cater to your life?  That sounds cold as hell, but really, why should anyone bend to your will?

Did you earn it?  Did you show that you should be cared about?  Or are you just pissed because that someone out there fell into circumstances that made their life appear easier?  Clear all that crap away.  Leave just yourself in the mirror.  Look into your eyes and see what is actually there.  Is it alive?  Is it ready to get to work?  Or is it dead?

Spoiler alert.  It is never dead.  I don’t care what happened in your life, you can only go forward.  Sure you will struggle.  Everyone struggles.  Everyone has that thing that claws at them under the surface.  Some people let it dominate them.  Others realize that it can’t be changed and deal with it.  So deal with it.

And really deal with it.  Don’t pretend to deal with it.

When you are done dealing with it, demand that everyone around you deal with their shit equally.  Why should you be the only one to put all the effort in?  Demand it from your co-workers.  Demand it from your elected officials.  Demand it from life as I am demanding it from you now.

I am tired of living in a world where we see the same 10 tragedies happen on loop yet seem to muster up genuine shock for each iteration.  I want to come up with solutions to problems not listen to some close-minded child-adult who cannot have a rational discussion about anything.  And.  AND, before you say “well the Republicans this or the Democrats that or the Tea party or the Green Party or or or….” understand that it is everyone.  Those political parties are a) basically the same and b) representative of the people in this country.  Stop blaming the “others.”

Eric Garner’s death was a disgusting reminder that we have not figured out how to hold people accountable.  I am letting all of you know that I intend to hold you accountable.  Will I come of as a jerk?  Probably.  The time for tact has ended.

“But Drew, if you have it all figured out, what aren’t you perfect?”

I am not perfect.  Far from it.  It is impossible to be perfect.  All we can do is try as hard as we can to get as close as we can.  I am renewing my efforts to do just that.  I am asking you, society, to do the same.

 

 

 

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M31 (the Andromeda Galaxy) is awesome

Light pollution and gases in the atmosphere steal our ability to see some pretty amazing stuff with the naked eye.  No example is more impressive than the Andromeda Galaxy (Coded: M31).  This galaxy is considered the sister galaxy to the Milky Way (our Galaxy) because it is the closest spiral galaxy to us (at a mere 2.5 million light years).

If you look at this picture, taken by Ted Van in August 2012, you can see a smudge/large object pretty clearly.  To take this picture, Ted escaped the light pollution of his city by going into the rural woods and used a long exposure setting on his camera.  The result is impressively gorgeous.

Using better equipment and processing software, this is what the galaxy would look like if our eyes were able to take in the light this galaxy gives off with the right amount of resolution. Jaw dropping, isn’t it?

 

Makes you wish we could.

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Procedural Error? $300m Fine. Kill People and Lie? $35m Fine.

Maybe it is just me, but I think the glaring issue between the fine Hyundai Motors got for a procedural issue in calculating MPG (a cool $300 million) and the fine that General Motors received for failing to recall cars that killed people (only $35 million) lay in where each company is from.

Hyundai is a Korean company and General Motors is a US company as well as a darling of the US Government.  It is a sad day when politics and connections trump justice.  I know that the Clean Air Act allows for large punitive damages, but spare me the procedural bullshit, if the US Government wanted justice to prevail, they could have gone after GM with the same force that is typically reserved for users of Napster or the Pirate Bay or, if you’re into it, educational materials.

Cronyism at its finest.  It’s too bad Eric Holder decided to resign as the AG, he was so freaking effective I am not sure how this country will move forward.

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Great Laugh For the Morning

See More on http://xkcd.com/154/

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If you could get rid of one aspect of your job, what would it be and how would you do it?

Putting this question out to the team gets people thinking, almost instantly.  Capture some of the initial ideas, but also ask your team members to thinking about different pain points that they experience on a regular basis and have them bring those issues to the next meeting.  I recommend this because everyone reacts differently and you don’t just want the loud, jump-before-you-say-go types getting all the airtime (as much as people like me, who demonstrate those traits, would prefer it!) so give your more analytically minded team members some time to think.

Once the population and scope of issues is designed, start working through some of the proposed solutions.  Obviously time and money are going to be roadblocks for some issues, but maybe there are other solutions that can be implemented in a more expedited fashion.  The key exercise here is to get your people thinking about being more efficient and more effective with their job responsibilities.  Everything should be on the table when it comes to reducing the low-value activities that your team has to work on.

Important Note:  Formalize these ideas on a tracker and set some deadlines around the creation and implementation of the solutions.  Review these regularly as a manager and in every team meeting.  Hold people accountable and drive results.  Getting these ideas going are great, but if “theory” doesn’t transform into “action,” you won’t make any progress.

With these job improvement projects in flight, look for opportunities to track and reward positive impact.  Always remember that there are two main goals when going through an exercise like this, create long-term capacity without increasing expenses and move individual roles toward higher impact outputs (an away from low-value, mundane responsibilities).

Your team members will benefit from these improvements and look at you, their manager, as the reason their individual job got better.  That is a significant win-win for all parties.

I would love to credit this photo, but it seems everyone is using it without sourcing.  Please let me know @drewthall if you are the owner.

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Ebola and our Hospitals

With the announcement that a second healthcare worker has been diagnosed with Ebola in Dallas and that this same individual was on a flight from Cleveland to Dallas the day before she showed symptoms, I think it is an appropriate time to call for some changes to the way our healthcare system works.  Some simple, common sense would go a long way toward fixes the ills that have begotten this world class institution.

First, healthcare workers need to stop wearing their scrubs on public transportation.  I am not going to go as far as declaring this the stupidest thing I have ever seen, but it is an easy top five in my book.  On what planet does it make sense to subject yourself to the cesspool of disease that is public transportation right before you enter a sterile environment.  I mean, its not like using non-sterile equipment or wearing non-sterile clothing could cause any infections….or it could definitely cause hundreds of thousands of infections a year killing tens of thousands of people.

Second, if a patient has been to West Africa or knows someone from West Africa or can even broadly identify West African countries on a map.  ASSUME they have been exposed to the Ebola virus and take the conservative treatment route.  This disease causes all sorts of horrible things to happen to you, I’m pretty sure no one is going to be angry if you take extra precautions.  I mean shit, we don’t let gay people give blood still, but we are not worried about people who may have a disease that is killing 50-80% of its victims in weeks?

Third, hospitals, why are you not driving awareness?  Why is it even remotely possible that a story can come out claiming 85% of nurses do not feel prepared to deal with Ebola.  We have had months to prepare for this!  Being unprepared is no longer an excuse.  There were only three deaths at the Boston Marathon bombing, in part, because there was a network of doctors prepared to deal with injuries.  Obviously they were not expecting terrorism, but it still worked out really well for a lot of the victims.  Imagine if there weren’t tents of doctors and hospitals close by.  How many more would have perished?

Being prepared and using common sense works.  At this stage, we should be calling for the heads of any Hospital leaders that don’t act.  Sadly, it is us, the everyday citizens that need to do something here.  If the VA is any indication, our government will be unable to hold those who should be ready to help us accountable for their inaction.

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The Middle Class is a Classic “Chicken or the Egg” Story

At its core, business is pretty simple.  An individual or group identifies an issue or a need in the market and produces a product or service to meet that need.  That same individual or group will charge a price for that product or service that covers the costs of production and includes some element of ‘profit’ to make the cycle worthwhile.  This principal is as true for Apple as it was for a carpenter making bookshelves in the 1850s; the only difference at this stage being complexity.

Understanding this elementary business principal is important context when looking at the present day American Middle Class.  Every day, it seems, there is another article detailing the ills of this large group of Americans none of which are so highly socialized as ‘wage stagnation.’  While it is impossible to argue against real wage growth of the class (or lack thereof), it is still worth analyzing the root cause of the issues besetting the silent majority.

First is the worst, second is the best

Remember that saying?  Not only was it a great way to save face after losing a relay race in third grade, it is also a great way to look at the impact that ‘being first’ has had on the American Middle Class.  America was one of the first countries to pour its heart and soul into the industrial revolution, big infrastructure, and major education.  Other countries were literally blown away by how fast the American machine could run.  Massive production and massive demand lifted the American Middle Class off of an agrarian economy and placed them onto the path of industrial might.  Industry gave rise to services which gave rise to the media/marketing produced image of the ‘American Dream.’  That is, to own a detached home with a white picket fence, a dog and a cat, two kids, a wife that stays home and cooks, and a career of steady, gainful employment.

Golly shucks, that sounds swell!

For a long time this ideal fueled the entire nation.  There was, however, a force lurking in the shadows that sought to derail this whole plan.  That force?

Keeping up with the Joneses

Now maybe this is a new phrase to you so to keep the playing field even, this is what it means: one sets the standard for the nature of ‘stuff’ that one ought to have and then everyone else plays catch-up.  This force is so strong that even the Bible has a specific commandment against it!  (Exodus 20:17 for those of you fact checking).

I point this force out because of its importance in the overall ‘what happened to the middle class’ picture.  It is widely believed that this commandment serves as a warning that wanting everything that your neighbor has could lead to a lot of issues.  Some of those issues are very direct (credit card debt) while others are more indirect (demand for cheaper goods).  Being that credit card debt is an individual issue, I’m not as concerned about that.  What I am concerned with is the American Middle Class’ desire to keep up with that Jones family.

If a country has a class of citizens that really want something, eventually they will get it.  Now most of the time we would equate that with freedom or social programs, but in this case we have an entire class that really, really wants to have the same TV that the Jones family has in their living room and the same furniture they have in their dining room.  They want to eat at restaurants and drive hot looking cars.  They want to wear the same dress and shoes as Mrs. Jones and they want the same tools as Mr. Jones.

The issue?  All that ‘stuff’ costs money.  A lot of money.  The solution?  Either get more money or drive down the cost of the goods.

Keeping in line with human nature, the road easiest traveled is likely to be taken when faced with an issue that has multiple solutions.  This is both a sad reflection on society and an incredible display of survival tactics.  In this case, the solution was to look for comparable goods/services that cost less than the real version, but that could also be a justifiable substitute for the original.  And who was there waiting to solve this issue?

The classic American business.  The most adept organizations in the world at creating solutions to problems.

American businesses started to notice the desires of the American Middle Class and these businesses moved to accommodate.  The businesses invested huge sums of money into training programs and research & development labs to author original operational excellence procedures.  These programs were designed around one part Cost Accounting, on part Operations Management, one part Technology, and one part Globalization.  The programs were a knock-your-socks off success.

American companies figured out how to drive efficiency and out-source or off-shore expensive, non-core elements of their businesses in an effort to gut costs.  When costs dropped, so did prices and Middle Class Americans flocked to Wal-Mart, Target, and Ikea to fill their houses with ‘stuff’ that the Joneses might also have purchased.

Everything is Awesome!

A bit more recent, but this line from the Lego movie illustrates the image that nig industry wanted all Americans to believe.  Keep buying your cheap stuff and you will feel great!  That Jones family and their high-quality durable goods and consumer items can eat it!  We got our bookshelf from Target and it barely cost us anything!  That’s precisely the issue though.  Demand for low prices means that businesses need to have low costs, which means they need to find cheap labor and materials.  It may sound unfair when a CEO ships 5,000 jobs to India and then is awarded a bonus of $50 Million dollars, but what really bakes my biscuit is how American consumers are using their hard earned dollars to authorize that behavior.

Remember the business principal?  A good or a service needs to be sold at a price that covers costs and includes profit.  If that CEO was able to ship jobs, manufacturing, etc. to India, ship the completed goods back to Wal-Mart and then sell them to Americans at a discount and still make money for the organization to the extent that he/she can be awarded a significant bonus, what chance does a business based in America have?  Why should any business employ Americans?  Why should any Americans get raises for work that could easily be moved to a lower cost bucket?

And you see our problem.  There is limited upward movement in the wages of Middle Class Americans, because we have demanded that there be downward pressure on prices.  For every take there is a give.  An equal force in the opposite direction to bring balance to the universe.  The American Middle Class’ purchasing habits may in fact be its own wort enemy.

What came first, the Chicken or the Egg?

We have seen that demand for cheaper goods has contributed to downward pressure on prices.  We have seen layoffs in the news and jobs shipped oversees.  We have seen the vast majority of goods that we purchase include a little gold sticker on the bottom that says “made in China.”  We have seen the subsequent rise of the Chinese and Indian middle classes as they benefit from being “second” to America’s “first.”  And we have seen the outrage that American citizens harbor over the widening gap between the rich and the poor.

What we haven’t seen is a change in our approach to solving the problem.  In fact, we have demanded even cheaper goods to offset the worry that our money wont go as far in the long run.  We continue to spend like there is no tomorrow on credit and student debt despite knowing – full well – that there will be a tomorrow.  We have not listened to those that warned us against this behavior and, most frustratingly, we have voted the same band of know-nothing politicians into office time and time again in the hopes that one of them will have a magical “ah hah” moment and cure us from all this misery.

If the chicken is legislation against corporations and the rich, then the egg is a fundamental shift in the American Middle Class’ approach to living.  This is less about who or what came first and more about what will work first.  The American Middle Class cannot rely on businesses to solve all of their problems.  They must do that on their own and to do so, they must go against all they know and take the road less traveled.

Raise taxes on corporations and the rich?  You get inversion and pass-through tax shelters in countries with favorable trade pacts.  You get armies of consultants and tax strategists that are hell bent at beating the system.  You are pitting the US House of Representatives and the Senate (two groups of people that everyone universally believes are morons) against some of the smartest people in the country.  Who do you think is going to win nine times out of ten?  This solution is anything but one.  It may feel great to protest and it may have the best slogans, but it is not going to work in the long run.

A mind shift in the American Middle Class to spend more money on fewer goods/services while demanding that those goods be made (at least in part) from sustainable American businesses is what this class needs to drive wage growth. Will this road be easily navigated?  Of course not.  The group previously mentioned has an insane amount of brain power and an even higher access to resources.  They will not go down lightly.  They will bring technology and robots.  They will try to game immigration laws.  They will do everything they can to get American consumers to blindly purchase their goods.

You, the American consumer, need to do your homework.  Shift your spending habits.  Vote with your dollars.  You need to drive the change from the bottom up because the one thing that the American Middle Class has over the richest in this country is scale.  There are way more of you and if you all start buying high quality, American made goods, those jobs will start to come back.  When they come back, the competition for talent increases.  When that competition increases, wages follow.

The solution is simple, it is execution that is complicated.  Just like if you want a low percentage body fat, taking a pill isn’t going to get you there.  6 months in the gym with revamped eating habits on the other hand will get you there.  You just need to choose what approach you are going to take and then accept the result when it comes.

In this case, the answer to the question is ‘the egg,’ but how many people will choose correctly?

 

 

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The Future Arrived…Yesterday

$6.8 Billion dollars.

Not chump change, but not a lot of money in the grand scheme of things.  This amount, however, holds quite a significant meaning.  This is the money that those of us in the “pro-space” camp have been waiting for.  This is the money that quite literally will write the history books of the future.  Ponder that phrase for a moment, actually, I really like that thought and I need to make it a cool quote further down this post.  This money will serve as the seed money for both Boeing and SpaceX as these two massively innovative companies build the technology and tools to accomplish the following:

  • Build a sustainable colony on the moon which will also serve as a ‘jumping off point’ for future space missions
  • Build the shuttles to take humans to Mars
  • Build a sustainable colony on Mars
  • Build the tools and shuttles to take humans to the Jovian moons
  • Drive the ‘new’ economy whereby we build stuff that is ripped directly from the pages of science-fiction novels

You see, when we spend money on extraordinary ideas, we tend to be both successful in our endeavors and come up with a lot of insane stuff along the way.  Want to grow crops on the moon?  Well, the solutions that will make that possible will also revolutionize how we grow crops here on Earth.  The future started, yesterday, with this NASA announcement.  Was it under the radar?  Of course, we haven’t valued space in ages, but look at the fundementals here.  This is the American people funding, through NASA, two American companies that will put Americans on the Moon, Mars, and into deep space.

“This is the money that quite literally will write the history books of the future.” – Drew Hall

America has been called “down and out.”  We have been laughed at, bullied, and embarrassed ourselves. We have started wars for resources.  We have toppled democratically elected governments.  We have done a lot of really awful shit.  We can still lead the world into the future.  We still have the best economy and we still have dreamers. Let us put value on what we can be.

Let us stand behind NASA, Boeing, and SpaceX.   See you on the moon!

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Some of this truth might offend you

If it doesn’t do that then I hope it just makes you think.  If neither happen, then I have failed.  In no particular order:

  1. I see more middle-aged women texting and driving than any other group of people followed closely by lower twenties guys.  This may explain why both groups of people are so terrible at driving despite telling everyone how great of drivers they are.
  2. Conservatives hate abortion, but love the death penalty.  Liberals love abortion (not the literal act, obviously), but hate the death penalty.  I’m no scientist, but that doesn’t make sense.
  3. As a society, we seem to spend little value on “personal accountability.”  All you here is about “that wouldn’t have happened if this person didn’t…”  Maybe if we started holding ourselves more accountable that would translate into the media and politics.
  4. The climate is changing.  It matters very little why or who caused it, but we cannot refute that it is changing.  Stop arguing about who is right and who is wrong and start thinking about how to solve the problem.
  5. The Earth will always have organized religion.  Humanity may also choose to leave that here when it moves to other planets.
  6. We should value those people that selflessly dedicate themselves to helping others, helping the environment, or helping animals.
  7. We shouldn’t put a premium on the thoughts of celebrities just because they have access to a soap box.  Being dumb as shit and uneducated, but being great at acting in front of a green screen does not make you some “all knowing God.”
  8. Political correctness is a great way to cover up they evils of society without addressing the root cause.  It’s like putting an ice pack on your broken leg or “Acting like Sweden.”
  9. We don’t read as many thought provoking books as we should.  The ones that we tend to read are force fed to us and usually drawn out buckets of garbage.  For example, David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell.
  10. If a private organization wants to allow their employees to unionize, they are welcome to do so and should bare all responsibility for it.  Public unions serve only to keep crappy employees in their jobs and crappier politicians in office.
  11. Cutting funding for infrastructure and education is going to be circled in the history books as “the decisions that made the USA crumble” (pun intended, this is my blog, get out if you don’t like it).
  12. Everyone has a plan to fix healthcare and none of them start with “as a society, start acting healthier.”
  13. President Obama was about as effective as someone without experience running uber-complex organizations could have been expected to be.
  14. Electing Jeb Bush or Rick Perry President would prove that we have lost our ability to think rationally.
  15. Everyone loved to blast Marilyn Manson as being a bad influence on kids, but no one says shit about the message Katie Perry is sending to 13 year old girls.
  16. John McCain should be removed from officer for associating with ISIS terrorists.
  17. Women love Hilary Clinton and view her as a champion for women’s rights.  Meanwhile her husband has a mistress code named “the Energizer” and her allowance of his behavior suggests to me that she is too weak to win the Whitehouse on her own merits.
  18. From the IT Department: if it is digital, it cannot be removed from the internet and everyone will see it.  You have a right to privacy, but you should also invest in a Polaroid camera.
  19. Too many people love to crap on millenials in the workplace.  Sorry for not buying into the “wait your turn” mentality that has dominated the corporate culture for the past 60 years.
  20. If I see you litter I will want to fight you.  I will likely just pick up after you.
  21. If I could bottle common sense, would I be able to sell it or would I be shunned from profiting off of something that everyone should be entitled to for free?
  22. Disney will do more for Star Wars than George Lucas ever could.
  23. I don’t heap praise on people because “everyone should be loved the way they are.”  Some of you need to put some effort into your life.
  24. Are you wearing those weird belly-button high shorts that somehow are popular again?  They look awful.  A message from every guy on the planet.
  25. White guys aged 25-35 suck more ass and say ‘yes’ more often than anyone else in the world.  They then expect this when they move up high enough in their organizations.  This explains why so many obvious bad ideas are not shot down right away.
  26. Uber and industry exterminating technologies like it should be applauded, not belittled because a government created monopoly is going to be put out of business because of them.
  27. The drought in California should be a huge national wake-up call, instead we are watching reruns of House Hunters International.
  28. You and I are in competition.  The race is on to see who can become the best version of themselves in all facets of their lives.  I am trying, really hard.
  29. If you don’t want to pay a high price for furniture, you need to lower you expectation of quality.  A bookcase for $50 at Target should not be held to the same standard as the $375 equivalent at Jordan’s.
  30. That noticeable silence when you ask religious leaders to denounce extreme sects of their faith or to mobilize protests against those extreme views is deafening.  That goes for Muslims, Christians, and Jews.
  31. Post a selfie and get 10k likes, every girl’s dream.  Creepy guy stares at the same girl on the bus, every girl’s nightmare.
  32. Major League Baseball hasn’t figured out that the product is crap and Baby Boomers are getting old.  Good luck selling a terrible product at high margins to people who are uninterested.
  33. There is nothing humane about an execution.  So why do we spend so much time and money with injection?  Hanging doesn’t sound so bad when you read about Vlad the Impailer.
  34. Every parking lot should be covered in Solar panels like the REI in Framingham, MA.
  35. Democrats should be after Obama’s head for his steadfast devotion to hiring lobbyists and crony capitalism.
  36. The Department of Education has not improved education since it was founded.  It should be abolished and replaced with a grant system.
  37. Social Enterprise is the PR Campaign that capitalism needs, but it is too complicated for most Executives to fully understand.
  38. Mitt Romney was 100% spot on about Russia.
  39. “First to Report” was NOT the name of a course in any college’s Journalism school.
  40. Everyday I unfriend the people I don’t really remember/haven’t spoken to in a meaningful way in many years on Facebook.  I use the Birthday reminder as my tool to bring up the 1-2 people for consideration.  I don’t feel bad about it.
  41. Kate Upton doesn’t do anything for me and it has nothing to do with her weight.  It has everything to do with being told that “I hate fat people” because I don’t write middle school love notes to her on Twitter.
  42. I used to think Ron Paul had all the answers.  He doesn’t and that’s okay; a single individual shouldn’t have all the answers.
  43. Rhode Islanders need to stop voting for the same people.  The state is a pool of untapped potential trapped under the thumb of people who are using the public’s trust for personal gain.
  44. The Mighty Ducks 2 was a terrible movie with a horrible plot.  Don’t get me started on MD3.
  45. From /r/showerthoughts “If you’re no longer covered by your parent’s health insurance, your manufacturer’s warranty is over”  That is a brilliant thought.

Please think about these.

 

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Corporate Person-hood

I tend to be very pro-business when it comes to policy and law, but there are a few things that I fundamentally disagree with in the business-world.  One of these is corporate person-hood.  I understand the legal pretense of these laws and rulings, but I also think they are a cop-out.  When Mitt Romney states in response to the statement “Corporations aren’t people” with “sure they are,” it illustrates an oversimplification of a complex problem.

Some things that you need to understand though, corporations need (in the current context) to be viewed as people to:

  • Sue and be Sued,
  • Enter into contracts on behalf of their shareholders, and
  • be taxed.

Other abilities, like Free Speech (Citizen’s United) and now Freedom of Religion are the result of rulings that seek to protect individual right to Association.  The legal precedent was set back in 1819 with Dartmouth College v. Woodward when the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Dartmouth College on the contract clause (protecting the contract of the school’s charter).  This ruling gave immense power to the Contract Clause of the U.S. Constitution, but also established that a private enterprise was protected by the Constitution as an individual would be.

I don’t disagree with this ruling as I believe it incredibly important that the states and governments not be able to alter contracts of private businesses as they see fit.  There absolutely needs to be a separation in these situations.

On my original point, though, I believe we need to pass a Constitutional Amendment explicitly defining the legal entity of corporations in the United States.  As I noted above, there are three properties that must be present to make commerce work and those are the only three.  I believe in the individual and restricting corporations (groups) from acting as an individual is the right thing to do.  The byproduct of this ruling is that it would also invalidate the Citizen’s United ruling as well as the Hobby Lobby ruling.

 

 

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