Archive for 'Current Events'

A Nation of 300

Today’s Notable Quote: "How did this young country get so big so quickly?" – Question posed by USA Today staff writer Haya El Nasser.

As we return to our regular life patterns today, we would do well to consider that sometime in October of this year, our nation’s population will top the 300 million mark. The United States is the third most populous country in the world, trailing only China and India.

The linked article sheds some insight into the question from USA Today’s intrepid reporter. Read and ponder the implications on the lives of you and your loved ones…

The USA is closing in on a milestone that seemed unthinkable 25 years ago.

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Truckers for Responsible Drinking

Today’s Notable Quote: "It’s taking every negative stereotype about the trucking industry and using it to sell a product." – Mike Russell, VP of Public Affairs for the ATA.

We all know that truckers are some of the most responsible drivers on our nation’s highways. Why, just the other day I was commenting to my teenaged daughter that she should emulate the courteous practices of long-haul drivers…

Today’s storylink concerns Coca-Cola’s commercial for an energy drink–set to air during this Sunday’s AFL/NFL matchup…aka SuperBowl. Take a look at the article, and see what you think. Does the ad misrepresent the trucking industry–or is it merely guilty of poking fun at its target?

TRUCKERS DEMAND WITHDRAWAL OF COKE SUPER BOWL AD

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Blushing Frey

Today’s Notable Quote: "Man is the only animal that bushes. Or needs to."  – Mark Twain

Frey Won’t Pen Book About Fall From Grace

James Frey, the wealthy, disgraced, million-selling author of  "A Million Little Pieces" is contritely submitting to interviews even as his book continues to ride along in the top five list of best-sellers.

Oprah has done the right thing from a damage-control and personal integrity perspective. One would hope that Frey would do the same, and donate the proceeds of his fabricated fortune generator to worthy causes.

Let’s hold our collective breath and see if this happens…

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And now…the News!

Today’s Notable Quote: "Half of the American people never read a newspaper. Half never voted for President. One hopes it is the same half." – Gore Vidal (1925 – ) American writer.

Reading the daily news is something of a ritual for me. Whether "on-line" or holding a "hard copy", I do it to "stay abreast" of the latest happenings in business, diet and health trends, advertising and marketing, consumer trends, etc. The process, is, however, one in which I am subjected to a significant amount of "chaff" as I seek to glean usable "wheat" to share with others. The longer I live and more I learn, the more convinced I become that reporting the news is far more art than it is science. It is much more subjective than many would like to believe.

Whichever side you come down on politically, you almost certainly have your favorite writers, journalists and bloggers. Listen or read carefully the next time you are exposed to their work. Check the facts. Check for biases and preferences. Cross-reference their articles or speeches with those of opposing views and see if their arguments "hold up". 

Don’t be like the former friend and colleague of mine who, in his mid forties admitted to having never voted in a presidential election, yet would eagerly argue virtually any political issue–often playing "devil’s advocate" to your position…

Read. Listen. Learn.

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Line ’em Up

Notable Quote: "I’ve been linin’ up for shows…I’ve been safely placed in rows…sure, I know how it goes." -James Taylor (1948 – ), singer and songwriter from his album Hourglass.

Watching the news. Fighting the rush hour traffic. Buying groceries. Taking in a movie. Eating at a popular restaurant. Buying gasoline.

Any business that has more demand than supply, will as a result, have people "linin’ up" to use the songwriter’s lyric.

We see this in the situation in New Orleans, Mississippi and Alabama–particularly in New Orleans where tens of thousands wait to be rescued by hundreds of rescue vehicles.

On the roadways, we encounter lines as "everyone", it seems, wants to be on the road to get home for the Labor Day weekend.

At the supermarket, buying a full week’s worth of groceries earns you the right to stand in line longer than someone with "10 items or less" (try and figure that one out–rewarding those who buy less, and punishing those who buy more…).

At the cinema, playhouse or restaurant, we instinctively plan to wait…if we know we have made a popular choice.

Service (or non-service) station operators are in the enviable position of raising prices at a faster rate than any time in recent history, and yet, demand remains strong with people linin’ up at the pumps.

What if someone figured out how to do away with the lines–and still provide needed goods, services and experiences? OH YEAH…they have. Any merchant doing business over the internet, or via wireless communication devices.

With the exception of purchasing fuel–the majority of "linin’ up" activity can be eliminated.

We can make a choice before hopping into our cars/trucks/hybrids/SUVs: Line up or get "On Line".

Enjoy the weekend!

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A Taxing Proposition

Quote of the Day: "Ouch!" – spoken by a number of us as we drive away from the mailbox–having deposited the envelope holding a check to the IRS.

Today is the 62nd Anniversary of the day on which Congress, in its boundless wisdom, authorized legislation which allowed employers to withhold tax on payroll checks. This act in 1943 was the start of the "pay-as-you-go" system of taxation in the U.S.

Rather than rant and rave about the system as it exists today; I thought it would be worthwhile to look at the perspective that others have had on taxes through the years. I hope you enjoy the following as much as I did.

"To compel a man to furnish funds for the propogation of ideas he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical." – Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) 3rd US President, 1801-1809.

"The difference between death and taxes is death doesn’t get worse every time Congress meets." – Will Rogers (1879-1935)

"Why does a slight tax increase cost you two hundred dollars and a substantial tax cut save you thirty cents?" – Peg Bracken (1918 – ) creative writer.

"I would like to electrocute everyone who uses the word "fair" in connection with income tax policies." – William F. Buckley, Jr. (1925 – )

"In the lexicon of the political class, the word "sacrifice" means that the citizens are supposed to mail even more of their income to Washington so that the political class will not have to sacrifice the pleasure of spending it." – George F. Will (1941 -) American writer, political commentator.

"The wages of sin are death, but by the time taxes are taken out, it’s just sort of a tired feeling." – Paula Poundstone (1959 – ) American comedian.

"Then render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and to God the things that are God’s." – Matthew 22:21

And last of all…"The trick is to stop thinking of it as your money." – Annonymous IRS auditor.

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Just the Facts

Quote of the Day: "Get your facts first, and then you can distort ’em as much as you please." – Mark Twain (1835 – 1910)

Another quote, this one from Jack Webb’s Dragnet character, Sgt. Joe Friday comes to mind. "Just the Facts, ma’am."

If you’ve watched the news in the past couple of days, you can be sure of one thing–getting the facts straight is very dificult for newspaper, magazine and television reporters.

From the Newsweek debacle to the hyped-up Barry Bonds knee injury reports to the American Idol scandal, we can be sure to get a number of very different "informed opinions", depending upon our source for "news". Sometimes this spills over into the business world, and even into our relationships with friends and family.

It seems that too many reporters, and maybe the rest of us are taking Mr. Twain’s "tongue-in-cheek" advice to heart. Much better to stick with "just the facts"…

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