Monday, December 31, 2007

Fred on Fox: Cool and in Control

Fred's performance on Fox News on Sunday was cool, respectful and no doubt comforting to his supporters.

He was asked about McCain's relatively superior experience on foreign policy and Fred was a class act, acknowledging the fact and yet putting a positive spin on his perspective.

Fred has refreshingly chosen the high road when asked about his Republican opponents and an incrementally sharper edge when offering his perspective on his Democratic counterparts.

When asked about his late entry, Roe v. Wade and other issues Fred offered much of the same: cool confidence and real answers. He has clearly thought through and holds firmly to his stance on the issues he feels our nation faces.

This was one of Fred's best appearances since joining the race.



Sunday, December 30, 2007

Only in Minnesota

Canon PowerShot S5 IS 8.0MP Auto Mode

I'm Not Particularly Inspired


Fred Thompson has has been in politics and Hollywood long enough to know that when you say something in the spotlight, anything at all, it can and will be dissected. Sentence by sentence, even word by word.

So when he said “I’m not particularly interested in running for president," the former senator said at a campaign event in Burlington when challenged by a voter over his desire to be commander-in-chief.“But I think I’d make a good president," Thompson continued. "I have the background, capability, and concern to do this and I’m doing it for the right reasons.”

The headlines predictably read “I’m not particularly interested in running for president"

You see that's why they are called headlines, not headparagraphs.

If you say something ill advised in the public light that requires the explanation found in the following paragraph, you are just asking for trouble. Being coy is not a particularly endearing quality for a political candidate.

Fred has already fired his campaign manager once, but I doubt this gaffe can be attributed to anyone but Fred himself. I can't imagine anyone writing this stuff for Fred...except possibly Hillary.

I think Fred would make a good President too but his campaign for President, with the exception of his debate appearances, has not been inspiring. The competition is tough, and time is short.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

In God We Trust


...from our friend John H:

"Actually a move by congress that slightly FAVORS Judaism/Christianity !!"



New law orders 'hidden' edge motto put in prominent place

The words "In God We Trust" have been placed in prominent display on U.S. coinage since 1864, until a new $1 coin series honoring U.S. presidents was introduced at the beginning of 2007, when the motto was concealed on the edge. But no more.

Congress has approved a consolidated spending bill, and President Bush has signed it into law, that includes a provision for the motto to be placed on either the front or back of new coins in the series.

Friday, December 28, 2007

The Bourne Ultimatum


The Bourne Ultimatum, third in the series, picks up where Supremacy ends. Like a car started in gear with the throttle stuck to the floor, the brakes; disabled, the pursuit ensues at "play".

…as for the ending, it’s not bad, but it isn’t the nuclear grand finale that Ultimatum and Matt Damon’s character deserves.

Which from my perspective is a question mark with an exclamation point after it.

Another installment?!

I don’t think so. Three books. Three movies.

But when this one ends you wish it hadn’t. One hour and fifty six minutes goes by like a half hour episode of the Simpsons.

The Bourne Ultimatum spans several countries as Jason Bourne seemingly transports himself effortlessly. The scenery is extraordinary; the crowds mostly real.

A spectacular foot chase culminates in one of several hand to hand fight scenes; the choreography, direction and sound effects of which are now a Bourne trademark.

Jetting back to New York, Bourne returns to the nest and with the help of NYPD’s finest, perpetrates one of the most bone crushing and acrobatic car chase sequences I’ve ever seen in a movie.

Julia Stiles, Joan Allen and David Strathairn are excellent. Matt Damon was bourne for this role. Pun intended.

If you liked the first two, you’ll find yourself riveted and even laughing in disbelief at the some of the most breathtaking stuntwork and special effects creativity I’ve ever seen.

Few movies pull off a second sequel like this one. Even Ocean’s Thirteen, a pretty good threequel, doesn’t draw you in like this one.

Don't miss the special features where they reveal how the amazing car chases and stunts are performed.

Frankenstein



Edgar Winter Group

Thursday, December 27, 2007

The Simpsons Movie


I started watching The Simpsons when the series began almost twenty years ago and stopped once I grew up; about a year and a half ago. Seriously though, I think its a funny show...mostly.

As for the movie? Now we know why The Simpsons is a half hour show. Once the Itchy is Scratchy'ed, you stop...else you just irritate yourself.

Doh! n't bother. Trust me.

Thompson Takes His Shot


The former Tennessee senator was challenging potential caucus-goers to choose the best man to help fend off what he described as an assault by a Democratic Party that is "just salivating" to lead the country into a welfare state.

"Who are we going to set on the road what man are we going to set on the road to lead us and to stand against this assault?" he asked, emphasizing the word 'man.' He couched his comments by saying "I say the word man advisedly. Now I've got a daughter that's going to be president some day, I know it, and I am all for a woman president, just not this year, not next year."

Without saying Clinton's name, he added: "There is no woman on the horizon that ought to be president next year, let's all agree on that."


Is Romney losing it? Is Huckabee unelectable? Is Thompson poised to take command?

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Knight Rider Rides Again



"Hello, Mike" says the new K.I.T.T. Car. I liked how the old car called him "Michael". The old car was a little less cheeky; a little more paternal.

NBC is reviving the Knight Rider concept in the form of a TV movie this coming year. If ratings allow, it will reportedly become a new series for 2008-9.



The original, which remarkably spanned four seasons and 90 episodes, chronicled the crime-fighting crusade of David Hasselhoff's ex-cop character, and a motor-mouthed armoured supercar with a supercomputer brain; funded by a billionaire foundation.

Watching old segments of the show reveals a car that was softly sprung and only superficially modified for superhero duty as it yawed, rolled and bounded sloppily while implausibly taking and giving fire to enemy helicopters and jumping over or through obstacles. In retrospect, the special effects were neither special nor effective, even for the 80's. No less in defiance of the laws of physics is Hasselhoff's hair.

Sort of the hillbilly version of James Bond and one of his many rides.

The new car is based on the 540 HP Ford Mustang GT500KR and will be able to ferry its crime-fighting passenger from one contrived plotline to another or morph into a driverless battle mode using a far-fetched extrapolation of nanotechnology.



Regrettably, there will be a reprise from David Hasselhoff in the lead role. This may present a logistics issue as it may be difficult running around the countryside saving the world when the cops keep pulling you over asking you to breathe into their machine.

So stay tuned for further announcements as to the timing of the NBC pilot. As for me, I'll be getting a manicure or painting my mailbox that night, so I'll have to pass.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

The Christmas Truce of 1914


No matter what your faith, this time of year tends to bring out the best in all of us. People are more polite (save of course those vying for the same parking spot at Southdale) and considerate and tend to slow their pace a bit. It is a time to think about the year past and plan for the year to come.

People come together. The music brings back memories from our childhood. And, thank God this year for the white Christmas.

I was intrigued today in Church when our pastor made mention of an amazing but not often told Christmas story from World War I. In December of 1914, opposing troops, battle weary, cold, and in some cases injured or dying, reached across the void to each other on Christmas Eve.

German soldiers began decorating their trenches and nearby trees with candles. As lore has it, peace broke out across the land when a lone German ventured into no man's land singing Stille Nacht (Silent Night). Soon both sides were singing Christmas Carols to each other. The festivities in some cases lasted until New Year's Day.

The break in the action allowed injured soldiers to receive care while fallen soldiers were carried away for proper burial. As word travelled among the ranks, rations of food, spirits and cigarettes were shared across enemy lines and it was even reported that football matches were played.

Books, songs and movies have been produced about this extraordinary event. The Christmas Truce of 1914 shows how the spirit of the season can overcome us even in the most dire circumstances. Differences can be set aside to be replaced with camaraderie and love.

Here is to peace. And to peace of mind, love and health to you and yours...and especially to those serving our country with pride and honor, who can not be home with their loved ones. God Bless them...and you.

Romans 12:20-21:

"...if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head." Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good."




Video HT Leo Pusateri

Monday, December 24, 2007

Trans Siberian Trailer Home

NORAD Santa Tracker


I just checked and he's near Krasnoyarsk, Russia.

Snowman

Hotel Rwanda

One of my favorite actors, Don Cheadle expands his range of accomplishments with an Oscar-nominated and moving portrayal. He is Paul Rusesabagina, the well-connected manager of a seemingly misplaced four-star hotel in Rwanda. The Mille Collines, normally an Oasis for white Europeans and dignitaries is transformed into a refugee camp when a civil war breaks out and quickly escalates into mass genocide.

At first Rusesabagina is able to cash in favors to save friends, family and refugees from the genocide raging just outside the front gates. Almost all hope is lost when one by one anyone in a position to protect his beleaguered and growing multitudes is either dead or out of the country. He discovers new found resourcefulness and barters and bribes daily for survival, beside him his last ally in the end, a haggard UN commander played adroitly by Nick Nolte.

Joaquin Phoenix appears briefly as a network cameraman who disobeys orders to venture out of his hotel safe zone to film murders occurring a half mile away despite accurately predicting that even his efforts to disseminate what is going on will no doubt result in non-action on the part of the global community and especially the West.

Interestingly, the producers, in an apparent but subtle political statement, insert excerpts of a statement by then President Bill Clinton, reassuring American citizens in Rwanda of their safety while presumably allowing the genocide of Rwandan citizens to occur with his knowledge.

One could argue anyone questioning our mission in Iraq and our current Presidents commitment of forces there should see this film to temper their judgement and contrast it with the non-efforts of his predecessor in a like-kind situation.

Hotel Rwanda has been likened to an African Schindler's List; only this film takes place in decidedly more modern times (1994) when worldwide press coverage and technology would presumably prevent such atrocities to continue unchecked. To no avail, almost a million were slaughtered. Hotel Rwanda is an excellent film that tells an important story that all should see.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Lest we offend!



Lest we offend!, originally uploaded by jroosh.

At Target, we now have the "Tuesday, December 25th" card section.

Open the cards displayed therin, and they all say "Merry Christmas" (...to my wife, son, daughter, etc.) inside.

She approved this message...

...did she actually watch it first? Can there actually be an audience for this drivel, even among likely liberal voters?



Universal Healthcare? I'll bet she doesn't know how she's going to pay for the presents either.

As if she's the only one that wants our troops home.

As implausible as it is that Hillary wraps her own presents let alone knows how to run a scissors, it is probably pretty smart to depict Hillary as a cute little house marm, given her image.

I wonder what happened to the gift of $5000 to every sweet little sugar-plum born in America?

Hillary is the Tooth Fairy!

I think even Santa Clause went on record to lambaste that stillborn idea.

I wonder what Bill's getting for Christmas?

We Can't Even Sell Our Cars in China


...or so says Al Gore in his Oscar-winning documentary "An Inconvenient Truth."

Meanwhile, back in reality...


GM is in a market share dogfight here in the States, but in emerging markets like China, the General is quickly gaining a strong foothold. Rick Wagoner and company are progressing so splendidly in the world's fastest-growing market that the automaker became the first manufacturer to sell one million units within a calender year.

Yet another lie, huh Al?

The Millionth car sold? A Buick.

GM is not the first American car maker to sell a million cars in a year in China, they are the only automaker to sell a million cars in China.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Where's your head at?



HT Number One

Honey, why is the garage glowing?




Toshiba's Micro Nuclear reactors are designed to power a single apartment building or city block, and measure a mere 20-feet by 6-feet. The 200 kilowatt reactor is fully automatic and fail-safe, and is completely self-sustaining. It uses special liquid lithium-6 reservoirs instead of traditional control rods, and can last up to 40 years, making energy for about 5 cents per kilowatt hour.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Passports


Mrs. Roosh and I went seperately to the Ridgedale Service Center to get new Passports today for an upcoming trip in February. I have to say that we were amazed by the efficiency with which our applications were processed.

I waited for my number to be called exactly the same amount of time it took to fill out the paperwork. They estimated we would have them in 30 days.

Wow. Color me pleasantly surprised.

Merry Christmas


To All My Democrat Friends:

Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit, my best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low-stress, non-addictive, gender-neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasion and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all. I also wish you a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2008, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make America great. Not to imply that America is necessarily greater than any other country nor the only America in the Western Hemisphere . Also, this wish is made without regard to the race, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith or sexual preference of the wishee.

To My Republican Friends:

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!


One Adam Twelve, Decaf at Hollywood and Vine, Code Three

Police reward good drivers with coffee

Motorists may be in for a surprise if they spot flashing red lights in their rearview mirrors in this Sacramento suburb during the holiday season.
Police are stopping law-abiding motorists and rewarding their good driving with $5 Starbucks gift cards.

A traffic officer came up with the idea to "promote the holiday spirit and enhance goodwill between the traffic unit and the motoring public," police Sgt. Tim Curran said.

Local businesses donated money to buy the gift cards.

"They raised a substantial amount of money," Curran said. "They'll be pulling over a lot of people."

I wonder what sort of goodwill the police would generate if they stopped setting up revenue-oriented speed traps and started being seen in our neighborhoods again?

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Rudy Rudy Rudy

I just watched this the other day for probably the tenth time. It is one of my all-time favorite movies.





Rudy

Beep Beep Beep Beep


That's the sound my bicycle makes when I back up. How about your's?

And if that's not enough safety equipment for your bike, check this out.

Mario Brothers: The Early Years


Paper
Uploaded by reelgood0008

I'm Hit! I'm Hit!


Today I received my first ever SMS Text Spam:

Still have Holiday shopping to do? Pressed for time? Send an online eGift Card instantly! Reply GIFT to recv promo code. STOP to unsub

A dubious honor no doubt, but I wonder how this is even done? It's easy to understand how crawlers scour the internet for email addresses. That's why a lot of personal web sites list their email address as "jroosh at yahoo dot com" and etc.

But mobile numbers must be at least a little harder to come by...aren't they?


A little Googling reveals text message spam is quite prevalent. I guess I'm just not popular enough...until now.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

I hate to say I told you so...


...but I don't mind typing it.

St. Louis Park plans to drop wireless contractor

St. Louis Park has split with the company building its Wi-Fi service because of delays and other problems.

Bad Idea: Government getting into the telecommunications business.

Worse Idea: Telling your kid "As my father said before he ended his marriage: Never remain loyal to a bad idea," said Mayor Jeff Jacobs.

The city estimates the delays have cost it $300,000 in lost revenue.

Don't you mean has cost taxpayers?

Hough's letter noted that the city paused setup last spring after residents complained about the look and location of the 16-foot-tall wi-fi poles.


What we have here is yet another government entity venturing into a domain (as if all other more pressing problems in the city are solved) without accountability to the free enterprise system, competing with legitimate providers who God forbid, are in the business to make a profit.

Whereas government? They can piss away money ill-spent on subsidizing a poorly conceived project, undercut existing telecom providers, duplicate their networks, in a now obviously flawed manner, and if it loses money or fails altogether, raise taxes further and call it "A Great Experiment".

Anyone that has seen these WI-FI access points would not be surprised that residents are up in arms over their appearance in the neighborhood.

For now, the city is telling the more than 4,000 residents who have pre-registered for the city's Internet service to find another provider, Pires said.

"It's only honest to tell them to look elsewhere,"

Broadband internet access is not a God-given right and even if it was, it is not the city's mission to provide it.

Monday, December 17, 2007

The Wedding Singer



...finally got around to seeing this one! Great ending. The rest...not so much.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Truly Scrumptious



Dick Van Dyke, Sally Ann Howes, and Benny Hill!

The Matador

Starring two of my favorite actors Greg Kinnear and Pierce Brosnan, this is an artsy, well crafted film in the independent film style and with a great soundtrack. Not unlike Reign Over Me, it is the story of two quite contrary men who meet in Mexico. One a businessman down on his luck, another a lone assassin for hire coming to the end of his career - the hard way.

In the end, they come to one another's rescue, but not in the way you will think. I recommend The Matador for your movie cue; its not a kids movie nor would it be a good date flick.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

There...he said it...

Al Gore savaged the US government’s “obstructing” attitude and urged delegates at the UN conference on climate change to ignore Washington if necessary to pursue the “moral imperative” of a new global regime.

Al Gore showed us the UN's cards in Bali this week. The Man Made Global Warming debate is "over" and the solution is a new world wide government.

Gore hits at US over climate change

Hmmm, who do you suppose would want that?

I wonder if Al Gore's desperation exhibited in this statement is in response to a perception on his part that global opinion on the issue is shifting to skepticism that man has any effect whatsoever on global temperatures?

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Siriusly


As a Sirius and former XM subscriber, I have been watching from the sidelines as the Sirius-XM merger has seemingly progressed without question, wondering when this would happen.

Finally, eyebrows are raised as the only two satellite radio carriers look to merge, and both are quite young as companies.

I listen to Sirius in the call almost exclusively; much more than I thought I would when I leased a car that came with a year's free service.

As a free market proponent, I would tend to believe that if the merger is beneficial, the market and the companies' shareholders could and should be able to determine the best scenario: merge or not. Regulators should stay out of the way

On the other hand, does it make sense for the whole satellite radio industry to consolidate to one provider? Is this really a monopoly? Is the argument that HD radio will provide adequate competition?

Both companies seem to be growing at a fair pace (then again so is Caribou, but they can't make money in a hot market either) with XM having a slight edge in subscribership. It will be interesting to see if regulators will let this one fly.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Sunday, December 9, 2007

You can Tune a Guitar with a Laptop

...but you still can't tuna fish.

Until tonight, I didn't know you could tune a guitar with a laptop.

Friday, December 7, 2007

MMPMGW

That's Man Made Politically-Motivated Global Warming. Just so you know I'm not the only blogger that thinks the MMGW movement is a lightly veiled world-wide liberal power grab with the endgame being a world government administered by, you guessed it, the ever more corrupt and misguided United Nations...

Brent @ Anti-Strib today:

So, two days ago, the Star Tribune ran this piece:

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd urged the United States to follow his country's lead and ratify the Kyoto Protocol, while rich and poor nations appeared divided Wednesday over what a future climate change pact should look like.

Rudd signed documents this week to formally adopt the accord that caps greenhouse gas emissions, reversing a decade of Australian resistance and leaving the United States as the only industrialized country to refuse to sign on.

Then yesterday they ran this:


…newly installed Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd reversed his country's long-standing policy by signing the Kyoto pact Monday, leaving the United States as the only major industrialized country to reject the agreement. Rudd called on the U.S. to follow his lead, and the Australian delegation basked in applause and accolades at the opening of the conference in Bali.

And today what do they run?

NOTHING…nothing at all…in fact, all you hear are crickets. So, why is this a problem with me?

Because there has been a new development with Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd that doesn’t mesh with the MSM’s push to get you to believe in MMGW, and so they are refusing to report it.


PRIME Minister Kevin Rudd last night did an about-face on deep cuts to greenhouse gas emissions, days after Australia's delegation backed the plan at the climate talks in Bali.
A government representative at the talks this week said Australia backed a 25-40 per cent cut on 1990 emission levels by 2020.

But after warnings it would lead to huge rises in electricity prices, Mr Rudd said the Government would not support the target.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Genentech's next Blockbuster


Med stocks rise and fall on the success of blockbuster devices or treatments. These are the breakthrough products that have large markets and have a good chance of garnering patent protection, at least for a few years.

Its a high-risk, high reward business fraught with potential litigation, patent challenges and lengthy approval processes. Some of the biggest successes of late have revolved around the biggest challenges in medicine: heart disease and cancer.

Recently however, there has been more and more attention paid to auto-immune disorders which include Type 1 Diabetes, Crohn's, Celiac, Lupus, Multiple Sclerosis, Rheumatoid Arthritis because they effect so many people and actually burden our health care system even more than cancer does.

Which is to say, there is a huge market and a huge potential payoff in the form of new treatments for patients and cost reduction for the system.

We have family member who is Type 1 Diabetic as well as numerous friends and extended family members with Celiac Disease, a related disorder. It is encouraging to hear Genentech, touted as the "founder of the biotechnology industry" sees this set of related disorders as their next big economic opportunity as there may be opportunities to leverage their existing cancer treatments and substantial research and development resources in the treatment of auto-immune disorders.


Tackling autoimmune disease is an enormous opportunity for Genentech—and the biggest gamble it has ever taken. The field is littered with failures, Levinson notes, such as drugs that don't work for huge swaths of patients or that cause side effects worse than the diseases themselves. What's more, competition in autoimmune research is growing more intense. Companies ranging from Amgen to Novartis (NVS) are vying for leadership positions, with some charting early successes in rheumatoid arthritis. A number of Genentech's first forays into this area have fared poorly, in part because there are so many new contenders.

Much of the challenge stems from the fact that scientists have barely begun to understand the cascade of biological miscues that trigger the illnesses. And even though drug companies currently rack up some $10 billion a year in sales of autoimmune treatments, the need for better drugs couldn't be more urgent. In lupus, for example, the immune system ambushes the organs, turning the liver, kidneys, or skin to mush. In multiple sclerosis, it assaults the nerves in the brain and spine. In rheumatoid arthritis, it destroys the joints. While these afflictions rarely kill, they rob their victims of everything that makes life worth living: mobility, independence, dignity.

Genentech had only dabbled in immunology before it discovered the hidden powers of Rituxan. With the board's blessing, Levinson launched a program to study the drug as a possible treatment for rheumatoid arthritis, MS, and lupus. And Genentech deployed a third of its 1,000 researchers to pursue new drugs to fight autoimmune disease.

It is still early days for Rituxan in autoimmune disease, but there have been some important milestones. On a Saturday in the summer of 2006, the MS research team gathered in a conference room to review early results of a key Rituxan trial. As they studied MRI scans of patients' brains, they were amazed to discover that the signs of the nerve-ravaging disease had dropped by 91%. "I can forever remember sitting in this room and watching a story unfold that we really hadn't seen before," recalls Craig Smith, a medical director at Genentech.

Rituxan was approved to treat rheumatoid arthritis in February, 2006, and has captured 10% of the market. For patients such as Nancy Kowalski, the sign-language interpreter, the drug has been a lifesaver. She got her first infusion in March, 2007. While the needle was still in her arm she glanced at her hands and couldn't believe what she was seeing. "The swelling was going down." Kowalski has gone back to work.

Genentech will announce key Rituxan data in lupus and MS next year, and it's working on some completely new approaches to autoimmune disease. The mandate, as always, is to consider ideas others might overlook. "There's this tremendous herd instinct out there," Levinson says. "That's a great opportunity, because often the crowd is wrong."

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

J-Bird goes Wild!



J-Bird goes Wild!, originally uploaded by jroosh.

Quality is Job One...Again


Is this an American turnaround success story in the making?

Will this be one of the most storied turnarounds in American business history?

Can America ultimately compete with Japan?

In a time when buying American could bolster the American dollar and counter China's threats to our economy and currency...will this ring true with American automotive consumers?

If increased American quality and value coincides with a weak dollar, could we actually stem the tide of decades of trade deficits?

Duncan Hunter raised the issue in the most recent Republican debate.

On the issue of trade with China, Rep. Duncan Hunter said China is "cheating on trade ... and it's in the interest of the United States to stop China's cheating. Buy American this Christmas season -- that might keep your neighbor from losing his job."

I think its safe to say that all things remaining equal, we would all buy American if we could. The fact of the matter is, the American automotive industry has let us down so many times with poor quality and poor value, that even if quality and value were to improve, it may take many years for buyers to come around.

Until recently, the fate of the American automaker has been held in the hands of self-serving union leadership or short-sighted and arrogant corporate executives. Meanwhile the Japanese, and now Koreans have been invading our marketplace with lower-priced and higher-quality alternatives.

As for Ford, this auto maker's very heritage represents some of the earliest applications of lean manufacturing by the master himself, Henry Ford. But somewhere along the line domestic automakers, drunk with near 100% market share with no competition in sight, introduced the concept of planned obsolescence in combination with stagnant designs and engineering, and consequently lost the confidence of the American consumer at the very time the Japanese arrived.

Now, Ford Motor has been implementing Six Sigma quality processes for some time now. Not only are they turning their cash flow around, their success is manifesting itself in their relative quality ratings.

The company improved in “things gone wrong” (TGW) by 11 percent versus last year, while the report’s average industry-wide improvement rate was 2 percent. Plus, 16
Ford Motor Company models ranked in the report’s top three places for customer satisfaction, TGW performance – or both – after three months in service. Ford Mustang Shelby GT500, Ford E-Series, Ford Crown Victoria, Mercury Milan, Lincoln Mark LT ranked best in their respective segments. Ten Ford models outperformed their competition, traditionally the best in class.

Six Sigma at Ford has been in the works since 1999, when the company's former director of corporate deployment for Consumer Driven 6-Sigma sought an effective method to improve quality. Top management soon joined the cheering section, and Six Sigma efforts have been persistent ever since.

This year Ford celebrates its 100th anniversary, and quality has been a pivotal factor since the beginning. In fact, Henry Ford introduced several principles and practices that are now considered the backbone of lean manufacturing. Since that time, Ford has tried its hand at total quality management, and now Six Sigma.

It is encouraging to see Ford Motor reaping tangible financial rewards for their commitment to improving quality.

Ford's quality record at the beginning of this decade was so bad, the automaker was spending billions on warranty repairs, while simultaneously turning off potential buyers in droves.

The blue oval has been righting the ship for the past couple of years, with vehicles like the Fusion and Taurus leading a quality renaissance that has the automaker nipping at the heels of its Japanese competition. That quality improvement has been cutting losses, with $900 million in savings achieved in 2007, and more on the way. The embattled automaker is forecasting an additional $300 in savings for 2008, which means Ford is expecting additional quality improvement.

The most effective way to measure a quality management system's effectiveness is by looking at the numbers. Since Six Sigma's inception, Ford has saved about $1 billion in waste elimination globally. Year-over-year savings worldwide was $359 million last year. Moreover, customer satisfaction has risen five percentage points in the company's internal customer satisfaction survey.

Results like these don't happen overnight. Ford invested heavily up front to train its employees as Six Sigma Green Belts, Black Belts, Master Black Belts and Project Champions. The company also implemented a project-tracking system in which members of separate project teams can observe via an internal database what others are working on.

Can you imagine what it would take for a repeat Honda buyer to consider a Chevy Malibu or a Ford Taurus? Ford is apparently striving to answer that very question.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Under Your Skin


As we are well aware, Diabetics, Type 1 and 2, require a Blood Glucose (BG) reading several times daily, usually before meals, before bedtime and any time the individual is feeling "low" or "high".

This is done with a relatively quick and almost painless prick to the finger and a drop of blood, which is applied to the glucose meter and (in our case) transmitted to the insulin pump.

Here is an exciting development from VeriChip that could eliminate yet another of the daily chores associated with close management of Diabetes.


...plans to build a prototype self-contained implantable bio-sensing device included in an RFID microchip (the “Microchip”) that for the first time will have the ability to measure glucose levels in the human body.

Millions of patients with diabetes utilize needle sticks to monitor levels of glucose on a daily basis. Through the Microchip, patients are expected to be able to track glucose levels without the constant invasive and painful effect of a needle.

Prior to the event, the Company will issue a “white paper” describing the features, benefits and technology underlying the development of its revolutionary self-contained implantable glucose-sensing device.


The described glucose-sensing RFID chip would allow for quick, painless and purportedly more accurate glucose concentration readings for diabetics who have the chip implanted.



The company has "a 20-plus-year track record in RFID systems for health care, with over 1000 infant protection systems installed and thousands more of the wander prevention systems."

Certainly there are naysayers about the core technology. See one outspoken protest site HERE. More neutral observers note that RFID technology "is either the most amazing thing to grace healthcare in decades or a civil liberties nightmare waiting to explode."
VeriChip Corp. is a subsidiary of Applied Digital Solutions and it traded on NASDAQ: ADSX

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Enchanted

Enchanted is a semi-animated musical in the Disney tradition. Our fair princess, Giselle, is banished to the "real world" (New York, as if that qualifies) by her evil Queen. Her fair Prince, Edward, gallantly follows her trail to save her. It's sort of a Disney version of The Terminator.

Okay guys, I know; I don't like musicals either.

...and Enchanted started off like a typical Disney animated movie for kids...I thought I was about to take one for the family. Enter straightman Patrick Dempsey, who plays a realist; a divorce attorney not given to this lost Princess' whimsical notions of love at first sight, romance, and magic.

I thought I had an ally in Dempsey as I sat there, my arms crossed. I would ride his coattails and get through the next two hours.


Then Amy Adams, who I last saw as the dizzy nurse in Catch Me If You Can opposite Leonardo DiCaprio, and Katy the Salesgirl/sidetrack love interest of Jim Halpert started singing and dancing like Cinderella.

A moment later I was laughing and leaning forward; completely drawn into the story. She was brilliant, she got us all, Dempsey included.

The scene in the park with the crowd, the workers, the street musicians, dancers and the animals was so whimsical it had us laughing first in disbelief and then genuine joy. It's the best thing since Ferris Bueller's Twist and Shout in downtown Chicago.

I even found an appreciation for Susan Sarandon, whose portrayal of the wicked witch was not a stretch at all for her. Art imitates life sometimes.

So go see it...take the kids...trust me. And then buy the DVD...trust me. It's a classic.

The Wait is Over


"I can't wait to meet God, and ask why he didn't make me go faster on some of those jumps, why he put me through all this pain. He knows I'm not evil."

Evel Knievel, SI.com, May 19, 2006

Ocean's Thirteen


The third installment, Thirteen is more of the solid sound track, casting and directing that made Eleven and Twelve solid, smart, and entertaining films. Rumor has it a Fourteen is in the offing and I would certainly put it in my Netflix cue.

Al Pacino trades places with Andy Garcia as the fall guy; Garcia's Terry Benedict making it lucky Thirteen. Ellen Barkin supplies the heat that Julia Roberts couldn't muster in Eleven or Twelve.

In contrast to Eleven, and to a lesser extent Twelve, Thirteen is bereft of the explosive action and surprises that marked the first two films although you'll still need a healthy ability to suspend disbelief. Its action is delivered in a more relaxed and even manner, but it never loses your interest and leaves you satisfied.

Moreover, it is refreshing to watch a modern film with an adult audience that is thoroughly entertaining but refrains from gratuitous violence or sexuality.
Look closely at the picture above and you'll count twelve...there is a small surprise at the end...and no, it's not Julia Roberts, thankfully.

Viewer's not coming to Thirteen as an extension of the first two installments may be disappointed but Clooney and Team fans won't be.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

...in Earnest

Fix American Healthcare? Fix Americans


Step One: Admit that we're fat and lazy.

Health care costs in America won't normalize until Americans start taking responsibility for their own actions. Many liberals think government should be a safety net for those that don't. It's called Universal Health Care. The bottom line: The US government, and ultimately our economy, can't bear the brunt of this thinking much longer.

There are many reasons why health care costs in the US are skyrocketing and they aren't all tied to the practices of insurance companies and health care providers. Much of it can be attributed to poor decision-making on the part of our population.


While numbers have slowly declined, 23% of Men and 18% of Women in America Smoke; 29% of Americans below the poverty level are smokers. Meanwhile our own Federal Government is subsidizing the tobacco industry to the tune of 16-48 million dollars.

There was a story recently in the news of an immigrant to New Zealand that was denied entry due to his BMI (Body Mass Index) as he would be a burden to the government-provided health care system.

The government's reasoning is simple: it will take only immigrants of an "acceptable standard of health", ie those "unlikely to impose significant costs or demands on New Zealand's health or special education services"

If the US enacted a Universal Health Care system and did the same we'd hear: "What ever happened to "Give us your poor, your tired, your huddled masses longing to be free..."

Whatever happened to personal responsibility? We live in a Microwave society. We want it now and we want it fast. Whatever it is. Damn the consequences for the future. We are entitled.

Our health care system is in crisis because we are a society of fat, lazy people.


By 2015, 75% of Adults Will Be Overweight; 41% Will Be Obese
66% of U.S. adults were overweight or obese in 2003-2004


More people say they're active, but the scale doesn't back their claims

A national telephone survey found the percentage of women who report regular physical activity rose to about 47 percent in 2005, up from 43 percent in 2001. The percentage of men reporting regular exertion rose to about 50 percent, from 48 percent.

The small but significant increases are considered good news, but also seem a little perplexing: U.S. obesity rates are not declining, and there are indicators that some weight-related conditions such as heart disease are getting worse in some adults.

If I smash up my car, and it's my fault, I pay more for my insurance versus someone that has a clean record. I would expect the same of my health insurance. Why would those that choose to eat reasonably and exercise pay more for those that don't? Why would those that don't smoke pay for those that do? Isn't that common sense?

You want to eat 4000 calories a day and sit in front of the TV with a smoke in your maw all night long? I don't care. Just don't ask me to pay for it.

We have a Gas Guzzler tax why not a Beer Belly tax? ...an Ass Tax!

Does anyone else see the irony of a 300lb Michael Moore making a film promoting a Universal Health Care system?

In the current system, most of us access health insurance through our employer. The employer pays a rate based on the aggregate demographics of their employees. If you are the only employee that has a normal build (read not obese) and doesn't smoke, you still pay more through your employer to compensate for your coworkers.

Step Two: Eliminate the current third party payor (mostly employers) system and allow people to shop for their health insurance on their own; and on their own merit. Increase competition among insurance and healthcare providers. Make them compete on service levels and covered treatments and conditions.

Obviously there would have to be considerations for pre-existing conditions that are not caused by lifestyle choices, and a short-term transitional benefit for the unemployed, etc., but the bottom line is we all need to be held accountable for our lifestyle choices and our government no longer has the resources to save us from ourselves.

So the next time you hear Hillary or any other liberal pleading for Universal Health Care, ask them how they feel about individual premiums for the program being adjusted up or down based on one's personal health status. While you're at it, ask them why they call it "Universal" and not "Socialized".