The Rich and the Poor

We used a guide in Rome Italy when we visited there.  An American, our guide lived in Rome for 16 years, learned the lay of the land, and turned his love for the city into a job – Tour Guide.

As we were doing the tourists thing, since he lived in both countries long enough to understand the significant differences, I asked what those differences might be?  He instantly responded, In the USA the government is rich and the people poor… in Italy the government is poor and the people are rich”.

Today, April 17th the US Supreme Court will consider whether states can collect out-of-state sales tax for online purchases.  Currently, 45 states rely on sales tax as a revenue source, few are able to collect.

Governments are losing big bucks ….   How much?  Estimates range from $8 Billion to $13 Billion annually.  I know we want to give our governments more money as they manage it so responsibly!

I suspect the Supreme Court will rule in favor of the governments…. So I suspect we will continue to prove our Tour Guide’s statement accurate… in the USA, governments have more and the people less.

Here is the link to the entire NPR article….NPR news article, April 17, 2018

Was there not an event in Boston “a few years ago” over taxes and representation….?

This whole thing brings me back to the most overused, most inaccurate opening phase often cited by our elected “representatives” when they are addressing an issue…   “In the best interests of my constituents….”

***** S&E *****

 

Trump Appoints Ronny Jackson

I agree with the veterans groups as well as the legislators who question Trump’s appointment of Dr. Ronny Jackson.  He has little background in leading and managing large complex organizations.  He served his country admirably as a Navy Rear Admiral in war zones in medical capacities, in military medical facilities

According to a national news source:

 “Jackson was deployed to Iraq after he joined the 2nd Marines in 2005, according to his Navy biography. He served as the emergency medicine physician in charge of resuscitative medicine for a forward deployed Surgical Shock Trauma Platoon.

While still in Iraq, Jackson was tapped as a White House physician in 2006. He has overseen the physicians for Camp David presidential retreats, led the White House Medical Unit and directed the executive health care for the Cabinet and senior staff members, according to his biography. He’s been a White House physician since Bush”

None of his experience would indicate he has the skills, knowledge, and certainly not the credentials to LEAD and MANAGE the VA – 360,000, correct 360,000 employees who serve 9 million, yes 9 M veterans.  Similar size companies would be UPS 399K employees, Home Depot 340K employees, Toyota, 364K employees and Berkshire Hathaway, 367K employees.

The VA will require the skills of a highly experienced leader and manager, not necessarily a doctor, not necessarily a veteran, but experience that would indicate he/she can run an organization of that size.  Who might that be?  Pick a CEO of one of the Fortune 500 companies.  What about medical knowledge?  Skilled CEO’s careful pick direct reports who have the knowledge to run the “technical” side of the business … in this case, razor-sharp doctors with leadership skills, corporate style Chief Financial Officers, Information Technology executives, executives of medical equipment and engineering companies, and the like.

Certainly there are docs out there who have the experience to run the VA!  CEO’s of the Cleveland Clinic and the Mayo Clinic would be examples.  Many hospital administrators are not doctors, but great leaders and managers, and successfully manage large medical organizations.

I hope for the sake of the vets that Dr. Jackson has the wherewithal to lead and manage the VA.   Odds are we are heading for another VA disaster.

As a side note, Trump does not have a great track record of picking outstanding leaders.  And, he has dismissed good leaders who don’t agree with him (Rex Tillerson). The thing is, poor leaders usually can’t pick great leaders!

*****S&E*****

Florida’s Teacher of the Year Bluntly Writes WHY School Violence Is Out of Control, February 19, 2018

 

By Daisy Luther

Kelly Guthrie Raley has been teaching for 20 years and currently educates kids at Eustis Middle School in Lake County, Florida. Just last month she was named the 2017-2018 Teacher of the Year.

The day after the horrific shooting that took place at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, she posted a rant on Facebook that has since gone viral. In the post, she talked about parental responsibility, compassion, and respect…and more than 823,000 people have “liked” the post and agreed with it, while more than 649,000 have shared it with others.

Here’s what Mrs. Raley had to say:

Okay, I’ll be the bad guy and say what no one else is brave enough to say, but wants to say. I’ll take all the criticism and attacks from everyone because you know what? I’m a TEACHER. I live this life daily. And I wouldn’t do anything else! But I also know daily I could end up in an active shooter situation.

Until we, as a country, are willing to get serious and talk about mental health issues, lack of available care for the mental health issues, lack of discipline in the home, horrendous lack of parental support when the schools are trying to control horrible behavior at school (oh no! Not MY KID. What did YOU do to cause my kid to react that way?), lack of moral values, and yes, I’ll say it-violent video games that take away all sensitivity to ANY compassion for others’ lives, as well as reality TV that makes it commonplace for people to constantly scream up in each other’s’ faces and not value any other person but themselves, we will have a gun problem in school. Our kids don’t understand the permanency of death anymore!!!

I grew up with guns. Everyone knows that. But you know what? My parents NEVER supported any bad behavior from me. I was terrified of doing something bad at school, as I would have not had a life until I corrected the problem and straightened my ass out. My parents invaded my life. They knew where I was ALL the time. They made me have a curfew. They made me wake them up when I got home. They made me respect their rules. They had full control of their house, and at any time could and would go through every inch of my bedroom, backpack, and pockets, anything! Parents: it’s time to STEP UP! Be the parent that actually gives a crap! Be the annoying mom that pries and knows what your kid is doing. STOP being their friend. They have enough “friends” at school. Be their parent. Being the “cool mom” means not a damn thing when either your kid is dead or your kid kills other people because they were allowed to have their space and privacy in YOUR HOME. I’ll say it again. My home was filled with guns growing up. For God’s sake, my daddy was an 82nd Airborne Ranger who lost half his face serving our country. But you know what? I never dreamed of shooting anyone with his guns. I never dreamed of taking one! I was taught respect for human life, compassion, rules, common decency, and most of all, I was taught that until I moved out, my life and bedroom wasn’t mine…it was theirs. And they were going to know what was happening because they loved me and wanted the best for me.

There. Say that I’m a horrible person. I didn’t bring up gun control, and I will refuse to debate it with anyone. This post wasn’t about gun control. This was me, loving the crap out of people and wanting the best for them. This was about my school babies and knowing that God created each one for greatness, and just wanting them to reach their futures. It’s about 20 years ago this year I started my teaching career. Violence was not this bad 20 years ago. Lack of compassion wasn’t this bad 20 years ago. And God knows 20 years ago that I wasn’t afraid daily to call a parent because I KNEW that 9 out of 10 would cuss me out, tell me to go to Hell, call the news on me, call the school board on me, or post all over Facebook about me because I called to let them know what their child chose to do at school…because they are a NORMAL kid!!!!!

Those 17 lives mattered. When are we going to take our own responsibility seriously? Guns aren’t the problem. The current culture is the problem.

*****S&E*****

Time Magazine – February 5, 2018 “America Alone”

I read through this article and in the end it was not a Doomsday forecast.  It did offer some views that were worrisome.  Views that I believe should cause us some concern…views that cast the USA as moving more toward isolating itself economically from the world economy.

And less than a week prior to this posting, the media reported the USA is considering tariffs on steel and aluminum.

It is a world economy. And the world probably will not care if the USA opts to isolate itself.  Some of the largest world economies are forging trade pacts with each other to build their economies.  Their governments have the foresight to see the benefit.

It is this blogger opinion that Washington needs to get out of its own way, abandon its severe case of tunnel vision, and enthusiastically charge into building trade pacts and agreements with countries across the globe.

This blogger considers our country’s leadership a great example of leadership failure.

Time: The USA Alone

Apologies for taking the blog into the political realm…

*****S&E*****

HardRock on the Island

No posting on this blog for some days — just back from the Hard Rock (HR) Resort and Casino in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.  HR has done a great job linking the resort to its name sake, Rock music.

Stuff that belonged to current and past rock stars and the music genre is all over  to include motorcycles, hot rods, guitars, show costumes and paraphernalia , live shows, painted instruments on buildings, it is a long list, right down to tiny embroidered guitars on the pillow cases.

Michael Jackson Show: I have seen a few resort shows in the past and they are OK.  The MJ show … well, you would have thought you were watching the dancing real deal.

The resort was huge but because of building layout and design, you would never know the HR’s 1700+ rooms were full.

  • 13 pools with swim-up bars
  • 9 restaurants
  • A Nicklaus designed golf course
  • Caribbean beaches
  • Spacious suites fully equipped with Hydro Spa Tub, private balconies, free Wi-Fi, 24 hour room service

It’s an all-inclusive, so it’s all covered if one stays out of the casino and spa.

Lastly the spa, located under the main building, is beyond description – size, design, atmosphere, you would have to see it… nothing short of cavernous!

And of course HR’s namesake music is everywhere.

*****S&E*****

“A Deadbeat in Singapore”

I had finished a successful seminar in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. My customer’s Red n Black Dragonheadquarters (for this purpose “EDO” company) was based in Singapore.  I had the standard, signed consulting agreement and contract in place that I used with all customers.  EDO was a repeat customer with which I had no prior issues.  The contract required 50% of the professional fee wire transferred to my bank account in the US, two weeks prior to the work, with the balance to be wired to the account one week following the completion of the seminar. The customer wired the front end deposit on time.

Weeks passed after the work was completed and despite emails, calls, and registered letters I never heard from EDO.

So I contacted a former executive colleague who lived in Singapore seeking a reference for a reliable, trustworthy collection firm.  She was able to help, providing what turned out to be a great collection company to work with, DebtCollection.com.sg.  I hired the company.

I sent the firm the necessary information and they accepted the case.  I had my final payment in three weeks.  I called the firm to ask how they turned around the payment so quickly.  They said that letters, calls, and a face-to-face meeting with EDO yielded no results. So they parked their vehicles, which had the “DebtCollection.com.sg logos on the doors, in front of the homes of the EDO’s board of directors.  The collection company had the payment within 24 hours. The cost to me was 15%, well worth it just thinking about the embarrassment of EDO.

“Ya gotta love it”.

**** S&E ****

Plan for the TSO in 2018 !!!

One of my favorite holiday events is an evening out to see the Trans-Siberian Orchestra (TSO).  Beyond the magnificent light show and stage effects, the story and music are phenomenal.  If you visit the band’s website,  http://www.trans-siberian.com/index/home  you will get a flavor of the dynamics of the show and music.   On their home page, click on the song “Christmas Cannon”.   And, click on the “About” tab on their site.   They only play through the holiday season.  TSO

This year, 2017, TSO’s schedule runs from mid-November to December end;  consider adding it to your calendar for 2018.  Tickets are expensive.  I know many who have seen the show and I never recall anyone grousing about the price, only discussing the spectacular!

A part of every Trans-Siberian Orchestra concert is the donation of $1 from each ticket sold to that show to a local charity. Since its founding, the band has donated over $10 million dollars to local charities throughout the country. While the foundations vary from city to city, the band’s philanthropic work tends to focus most on those that protect and children, such as Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals and Toys for Tots.

Happy Holidays!!!!