Saturday, July 23, 2011

On reaching out

The BBC has published a list of the U.K.'s least favorite Americanisms. 

It's a good list, since it includes "deliverables", "deplane", and "I could care less".   ("I could care less" was once a sarcastic statement, but is now meaningless). 

The most vile phrase mentioned is "reach out to" instead of "ask" or "call".  It's number 35 on the list, and was suggested by a Londoner named Nerina. 

"Reach out to" when the correct word is "ask". For example: "I will reach out to Kevin and let you know if that timing is convenient". Reach out? Is Kevin stuck in quicksand? Is he teetering on the edge of a cliff? Can't we just ask him?

Well said, Nerina.  Well said.  I get it all the time from salespeople who call my warehouses.  "Whited, should I reach out to Aaron in your purchasing department about your need for fastening solutions?"  (Fastening solutions are what we used to call nuts and bolts.) 

"Whited, I'll reach out to Darin at your office about this." 

"Do me a favor and reach out to Bentonville about the Wal-Mart shipment." 


It makes the speaker sound as if he's a freakin' televangelist, reaching out to those who are lost without his product line.  The next salesman to disturb my slumber at work, daring to say he wanted to reach out to me, I'm going to reach out to him with an email containing a link to this post. 

Sir, evangelists reach out.  First basemen reach out.  Grocery stock clerks reach out, as do roofers, peanut salemen at ball games, firemen trying to get cats out of a tree, and politicians working rope lines. 

Salesmen either call, ask, or contact.  They are not God reaching out to Adam to give him the divine spark of life, their product line of fastening solutions, or low, low rates for shipments going to North Dakota on Thursdays. 

Most of the other Americanisms on the list don't bother me as much.  I could care less. 

A Fresh Coat Of Whitening to Radley Balko for the link. 

Friday, July 22, 2011

On having to ring up your own groceries but pay "full price"

I saw the following quote on Instapundit:

SEEN ON FACEBOOK: “I work all day, go to Kroger late night, stock up on groceries and then get to the checkout and have to scan and bag everything by myself and still pay full price while Kroger can eliminate a job. Hmmmmm. That’s the equivalent to you coming into my restaurant, cooking your own food and I still get to charge full price. Am I being unreasonable???”

I honestly don't know where to begin.  For lack of a better place, let's start with the history of grocery stores. 
If you ever find yourself in Memphis Tennessee with a couple of hours to kill, check out The Pink Palace museum.  They've got a beautifully reconstructed model of a Piggly Wiggly grocery store inside. 
Piggly Wiggly (founded in Memphis) was the first self-serve grocery store in the U.S.  Instead of handing the clerk behind the counter your list of groceries, if you were a Piggly Wiggly shopper, you took a cart or a basket and got your groceries all by yourself. 

This move didn't save or create any jobs in the grocery industry.  In fact, it eliminated them.  But it saved a lot of money for consumers.  This allowed them to eventually purchase more of other things instead of food: iPods, flatscreen TV's, or laptop computers, creating jobs in the iPod, TV and laptop industries. 

Skip forward about a half century.  Someone came up with a pattern of lines called a "barcode" that could be read by another device called a "scanner". 

This move didn't create any jobs in the grocery industry.  It made checking out much, much faster, and eliminated a lot of inventory and supply chain jobs in the grocery distribution system.  But it saved a lot of money for consumers. This allowed them to eventually purchase more of other things instead of food: iPods, flatscreen TV's, or laptop computers, creating jobs in the iPod, TV and laptop industries.

By the time the scanners came along, the U.S. military had already been using a warehouse concept called "cross-docking" for quite some time.  This is a warehouse design where incoming shipments are received on one side, outgoing shipments are shipped on the other, with minimal storage space in between.  Minimal inventory is kept on hand in the warehouse at any given time. 
Sam Walton, of Wal-Mart fame, was the first to apply this concept to the grocery and retail industry. 

This move didn't create any jobs in the grocery industry. It made distribution much, much faster, and eliminated a lot of inventory and supply chain jobs in the grocery distribution system. But it saved a lot of money for consumers. This allowed them to eventually purchase more of other things instead of food: iPods, flatscreen TV's, or laptop computers, creating jobs in the iPod, TV and laptop industries.

Finally, someone invented the self-serve grocery checkout stand.  If you have a minimal amount of stuff to ring up, you can choose to do it yourself. 

As the Facebook commenter wrote, the customer is doing some of the work himself.  Kind of like the Piggly Wiggly customer started doing in the 1920's. 

This move toward self-checkout doesn't create any jobs in the grocery industry. It makes getting out of the store much, much faster, and it saves a lot of money for consumers. This allows them to eventually purchase more of other things instead of food: iPods, flatscreen TV's, or laptop computers, creating jobs in the iPod, TV and laptop industries.

I hope this has helped. 

We have not become a prosperous nation by "saving or creating jobs".  We have become a prosperous nation by constantly churning the process, always trying to come up with a better way to get things done. 
No one can predict what the next way will be.  No one knows which kid is working in the Produce Department of an Albertson's Grocery Store who has already come up with a better way to distribute and merchandise fruit and vegetables, and who just can't wait to open his own store and try out his idea.  No one knows which computer geek in his Mom's basement has already come up with a system to make distribution and logistics more efficient. 

These people are going to bring us improvements and levels of progress that we can't even imagine, here in the primitive year 2011. 

The only thing we do know is that there will always be someone complaining about the cost of progress and doing everything in his power to keep it from happening. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Rupert Murdoch attacked by pie assassin - Who will be the next victim?

It looks like Rupert Murdoch's media empire is infested with reporters who illegally hack into phones and emails. 
Any reporter doing this in the U.S. should be locked up, and the key should be thrown away. 
Here's a video of a protester trying to hit Murdoch with a pie during some testimony before Parliament.  Murdoch's wife intervenes before the pie-chunker can get too close.

In the U.S., we're supposed to be protected from warrantless wiretaps by the Fourth Amendment:

The wording is straightfoward.  Unless George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and Karl Rove have a warrant, they don't have any business going through your papers or "effects".  "Effects" would be your email or your cell phone. 

But during the Bush administration, we went into a blind panic and surrendered our rights to some people who wanted to go through our stuff without a warrant.  It was all for our own protection and safety. 

And it continues.  Here's the Wall Street Journal on Obama's "evolving" stance on listening to your conversations:

....we're beginning to wonder if the (Obama) White House has put David Addington, Mr. Cheney's chief legal aide, on retainer. The practical effect is to prevent the courts from reviewing the legality of the warrantless wiretapping program that Mr. Obama repeatedly claimed to find so heinous -- at least before taking office. Justice, by the way, is making the same state secrets argument in a separate lawsuit involving rendition and a Boeing subsidiary.

Hide the children, but we agree with Mr. Obama that the President has inherent Article II Constitutional powers that neither the judiciary nor statutes like FISA can impinge upon. The FISA appeals court said as much in a decision released in January, as did Attorney General Eric Holder during his confirmation hearings. It's reassuring to know the Administration is refusing to compromise core executive-branch prerogatives, especially on war powers.

....Then again, we are relearning that the "Imperial Presidency" is only imperial when the President is a Republican. Democrats who spent years denouncing George Bush for "spying on Americans" and "illegal wiretaps" are now conspicuously silent. Yet these same liberals are going ballistic about the Bush-era legal memos released this week. Cognitive dissonance is the polite explanation, and we wouldn't be surprised if Mr. Holder released them precisely to distract liberal attention from the Al-Haramain case.

Hit the link to read the whole thing. 

So....  who would you rather have illegally listening to your phone calls and reading your emails?  Rupert Murdoch or Barack Obama

And is Michelle Obama prepared to step between Barack and a pie? 

The pic of the Obama Pie came from here. 

Monday, July 18, 2011

Ok, whose turn is it this year to be the "responsible, small government party"?

This is from Weasel Zippers.  A summary of the 2006 vote to raise the debt ceiling. 
Please note how many small government Republican senators voted to put us further into debt. 

U.S. Senate Roll Call Votes 109th Congress — 2nd Session

As compiled through Senate LIS by the Senate Bill Clerk under the direction of the Secretary of the Senate
Question: On the Joint Resolution (H.J.Res.47 )
Vote Number: 54 Vote Date: March 16, 2006, 11:17 AM

A cynic might claim that our two political factions enjoy taking turns. 

"The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. Government can’t pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government’s reckless fiscal policies." - Barack Obama, 2006

Sunday, July 17, 2011

And so it begins....

For the few die-hards who think there's a difference between the Republicrats and the Demoblicans, go here.    Please.  Hit the link.  And don't even think about acting surprised by what you read. 
This means you, Harper !!  :)

As long as we keep doing what we're doing, we're going to keep getting what we've been getting:  debt, wars, needless regulation, bureaucracy, half the world's prisoners, violence on the border, Barack Obama regulating bedroom behavior, increasingly worthless currency, import quotas, high school graduates who've never read a book, and entitlements from hell. 

The Republicans have worked hand in hand with their co-dependents to raise the debt floor ceiling before the current move to put in a new debt floor ceiling 70 times (so far). 
Leopards don't change their spots.  They do what they do.  Don't be distracted by all the hand-wringing and scenery-chewing.  It is as scripted as a production of Hamlet. 

Just enjoy watching them get your grandchildren further and further into debt.