Monthly Archives: June 2008

Cell Phones

Ok, that titles an inside joke.  But, for some reason, I was rambling on yesterday and becoming easily distracted and therefore unable to make an important point to The Missus and her Dependable Rock Solid Husband.  I was trying to tell them about a trend I’ve noticed for the past coupla years….

Cellphones.  Credit cards.  Long Distance Service.  All of these services are available to me and the kicker is that i can now choose only providers that share my ideological pre-dispositions.  I can choose a VISA that “donates” a percentage of my purchases to Progressive candidates.  I can text and chat on the electric telephone and benefit Greenpeace, or ActBlue, or a number of other quasi-Liberal outfits.

Part of this appeals to me.  I like the transparency that enables me to do business with like-minded entities.  I’d hate to think my patronage of a certain Corporation might contribute to another Bush-like administration, or, even scarier, pay any percentage of Bill Hobbs salary.

In the past, I’ve written about companies that take good care of their employees, like CostCo, and that I feel good about handing them my money.  Publix is another one.  I hope to always factor in a company’s ethics when chossing where to buy.  However, (and I’m hoping I don’t offend here) this is exactly what the Christian merchants do….they market to each other.  I ALWAYS skip right past businesses in the phone book that display “The Fish.”  More often than not, I have found those businesses to be the most ruthless and least satisfying to interact with, and the mere act of placing that symbol in your ad strikes me as exploitative.

So, it seems like this effort by progressive companies has just as much potential for abuse, and, it feels like one more way for us to stay seperate.  For now, at least for me, I’m going to stick with my tried and true approach, and tell these outfits the same thing i tell enthusiastic evangelicals…don’t tell me you’re a Christian/Progressive.  Act like it, I’ll notice.

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I’m Stockpiling Food. Now.

No wonder that invitation from Hef never came in the mail.  I was doing it wrong!

Just for fun, be sure and check out step 5.

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Hey B! I’m Upping The Ante!

Can anyone top this?

EDITED TO ADD:  So excited, i was, to have figured out how to embed a video on this blog, i forgot to link back to what B posted. Sigh.

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Death To The Bean Counters

Here is a puff piece written about The Volt, GM’s last gasp effort to regain their perch atop the automotive industry.  I don’t agree with the writer’s assessment of the EV1 fiasco…the car was loved by everybody that leased one, (you couldn’t buy it) but when California failed to pass zero emission laws, GM tried to bury or buy the technologies that made that car a reality.

I’m of two minds here.  Part of me loves the fact that Toyota is outselling GM.  Toyota, (and to a lesser extent, Honda) deserve every bit of the market share they have.  While GM moved at a glacier-like pace, they were nimble about producing fuel efficient, dependable cars and making them affordable.  Even when Toyota and Honda were catering to America’s love affair with bigger and bigger vehicles, they still invested heavily in their smaller cars, and made them a little better every model year.  I HATE that they mimicked the American business model for selling their cars…but thats a post for another day.

On the other hand…I want GM to succeed.  There are so many American families dependent on it’s success, and though I don’t know the details (yet) it seems there was a “landmark labor agreement” struck recently.  If they can pay a union level wage, keep their pension agreements AND build this car on schedule, it will be the greatest thing to happen in my lifetime.  In the article I linked to…there was this phrase that likely got missed by most readers.  Yet, it may very well be the key to the Volt’s success:

Engineers, designers, and executives were told to trust their instincts and make decisions on the spot.

What?  No nod to the accounting Gods?  Blasphemy!  GM is a HUGE bureaucracy, for years V.P.s and managers were fiercely territorial, ( jockeying for funding) usually at the expense of innovation, and eventually, profitability.  One need only look at the Cadillac Division and the acquisition of Hummer for proof.  Seriously…Hummer?  I left GM for dead after that.  I applauded Saturn, even when they sacrificed Oldsmobile to prop it up.  I expected Buick to go next….yet, they continue to build and market cars that only appeal to the near incontinent.  They spent millions trying to get successful women to buy Cadillac, hows that working out?  Do any of you know a woman that drives one?  They drive Lexus, BMW, even Acura, but certainly not Cadillac.

I’m sure the guys that stare at ledger sheets are sweating the Volt project.  If it succeeds, maybe other companies will relegate these soul-less wing-tipped score-keepers back to a basement office where they belong.   YEA, I know there has to be someone watching the money, but it seems to me that more and more, business in America has been driven by actuaries and comptrollers, which resulted in an orgy of cost-cutting for cost-cuttings sake.  Maybe a little recklessness is in order.  Perhaps the engineers and tool-makers can shout down the Harvard MBAs in the next meeting.  I keep hoping.

I’m excited by the Volt project.  Its likely that Toyota or Honda or maybe even Tesla will do it first, or do it better, but all in all its great for the American car buyer, and for future generations of Americans that would like to travel this country by car.  Even future accountants.

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Geeks, Listen Up

I downloaded Firefox 3.  I want to turn off that annoying feature they call The “Smart Navigation bar.”

Please tell me how to do this.

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Just for fun, while I struggle with events

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By Special Request

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