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Showing posts from December, 2008

The Christmas Spirit

You know, it's funny how a small change can sometimes have a huge impact. For example, the giving of gifts on Christmas was originally intended to mimic the wise men who gave gifts to Christ. Now modern society seems to have turned it from giving gifts to getting gifts and created a multi-billion dollar industry around the Christmas season. There is so much pressure to give bigger and better things, to make sure people get better gifts than last year, or to out-do somebody else.

I think too many people ask "what did you get for Christmas?" and not enough care if we actually get closer to Christ on His birthday celebration. It's so close. We try to have the spirit of giving at Christmas and we try to live up to expectations. However, I think that many expectations of the Christmas season are not about Christ at all. Perhaps that is where we got lost.

This Christmas season, in celebration of Christ's birthday, are we giving Him anything? The things He asks fo…

GM Gets Their Bailout

When the bailout bill failed in the Senate, the cynic in me said that it was sabotaged. That's right, deliberately killed. Why? So that the White House would be forced to use the financial bailout money, which would be given with far fewer strings attached. Well, it looks like that's what happened.

I sincerely hope that the cynic in me was wrong and this wasn't deliberately staged, but I still have to wonder. Where are the union concessions? "Laid off" union workers, as far as I know, are getting 95% of their wages for doing no work. That should be stopped immediately. What about the car czar? Will anybody hold them accountable for their actions and/or keep them on the right track. They have until March to prove that they're "viable", and if they can't - will the government let them fail then? I doubt it. From where I'm standing, this bailout has no real teeth. If I'm wrong, please let me know.

It seems to me that the Big 3 sw…

Finding The Balance Between Today And Tomorrow

Do you know anybody who seems to be wasting their whole life waiting for tomorrow? How about somebody so absorbed with today's problems that they're decisions don't anticipate future consequences? Both paths tend to make a person less successful/happy than they could be.

So what's the appropriate balance? OK, that's rhetorical. There probably isn't a general, perfect balance. However, some amount of balance is essential. The nearsighted person is the one who doesn't see the train coming. The farsighted person keeps falling into holes. How do we fix our vision?

The trick is to see both the present and the future (oh, and learn from the past but that's another topic). Have you even seen "The Dead Poet's Society"? That was the first time I heard the term "carpe diem" or "seize the day". We should strive to live today to the fullest, however, we also need to make sure that we can live tomorrow to the fullest as wel…

Could Universities Help Government Be More Effective?

I had a really interesting idea the other day. I'm currently a graduate student in information management at ASU. As part of the curriculum we are required to complete a project that has the students working with a company to "transform a business through information technology." This is a great idea and the project (I'm about half done) has really helped me understand business and technology better. I'm sure other business schools and other universities do similar projects. Well, here's my idea: instead of focusing on private companies, why don't we have some of them focus on government agencies.

Government has become synonymous with waste and inefficiency. Most people extend that into the belief that government employees are lazy and incompetent. However, as I've worked with some of Arizona's government agencies, I've found the opposite to be true. Many of the people I've worked with are dedicated, hardworking people who are try t…

The Irony of the Automaker's Situation

OK, maybe it's just inconsistency but have you noticed the differences between the bank bailouts and the automaker bailout? To me, it seems like our Treasury is writing blank checks to any bank that's big enough to warrant the label "can't be allowed to fail." On the other hand, the automakers are being grilled mercilessly by Congress, forced to prove they're viable long term, and being offered few assurances that they'll get anything.

Some may say that it's not fair to the automakers. I say it's not fair to the taxpayers. All of these financial institutions out there should not be getting blank checks. They should be grilled mercilessly and be forced to prove their viability. Why the double standard?

So here's the irony: the automakers, who actually produce something (cars and trucks), are being asked to justify their existence while financial companies, who don't actually produce anything (they just move money around), are deemed to…