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Thursday: Just get it done

Just Get It Done!

Those of us who live in the corporate world by day are coming to the slow realization that getting anything done in the era of outsourcing is becoming next to impossible.  The functions we once depended on are now being performed by mysterious outside groups who offer an off the shelf service that is not tailored to our specific needs or are so hobbled by the need to keep information secret that they can’t help us without contacting an inside third party or complicated by the redirection to new training requirements that must take place before we are able to perform an operation that used to take seconds but will now take hours.  We are scolded by snippy business types who can not possibly fathom why the people in R&D have not wasted hours and hours of our time to master the arcane minutiae and non-intuitive “user” interfaces for their business units, as if there were no other task more important.  Contractors are former employees hired back at vastly reduced salaries with concomittantly vastly reduced incentive for extending themselves even one nanometer outside of the tortured definition of services to help us with our problem or are disembodied voices with southern accents (I’m guessing Georgia) who do not make the effort to contact us at home during Christmas break to tell us our credit card info in our personal profiles (that THEY entered) is incorrect and the flight we thought we booked is now $800 over budget.  (Thank you very much, Billy Bob)

So much for cost saving measures.  Look guys, we don’t have time for this crap.  Just get it done.

The same goes for Congress.  I am getting tired trying to figure out what version of Kabuki theatre we are playing today.  Are the Republicans going to spend the next two years on focus grouped cultural issues because they know their base voters are senior citizens on limited incomes who watch Fox, are not employed and grew up in an era when women’s lives were constricted, gays were still in the closet and communities were as homogenous as vanilla milkshakes or are they going to block any measure to help regular Americans get back to work so they can blame Obama for the poor economy in 2012? (I’m guessing both)  Are the Democrats going let Republicans hang themselves and concede every mean spirited measure to them so Republicans can take the blame in 2012?  Is anyone going to step up and take responsibility for anything or are they are in it together to force some shock doctrine austerity plan on us so that the small evil group without any national fealty to whom they report doesn’t have to cough up any more money of their own?

In case you weren’t paying attention to the voters in 2006, 2008, 2010, we are losing our patience.  That doesn’t mean we are all panicking.  It means we don’t have time for this crap.  It makes us peevish and unpredictable. If you panic us, you may get something you did not expect. But don’t think we aren’t paying attention to who is doing what to whom.  We see the faux drama and we see the results and we are not amused.  You congresspersons are supposed to report to US, the citizens of the United States, not Dubai or the Caymen Islands.  Quit screwing around and get it done.

In the news:

The readers of the Washington Post were paying attention yesterday when the Post put up a poll asking readers to rate issues they wanted the new Congress to tackle and “jobs” was not among them.  Nor were several other issues like bringing the financial industry to heel or fixing the mortgage crisis.  You know, stuff that the average hard working American, who does not live in the swank suburbs around the beltway, actually cares about.  Eventually, in response to the pages and pages of comments in protest, WaPo relented and added Jobs but did not reset the poll results so the numbers were skewed.  The Republican talking points continued to nest at the top.  Way to go, guys.  “Non scientific poll” indeed.

Obama is replacing Rahm Emannuel with William Daley, who is currently employed by J. P. Morgan Chase.  Because having Rahm beating up the left on a daily basis wasn’t enough?  I only ask.


Natasha Chart pointed me in the direction of this American Prospect post that in turn refers me to an article in the Atlantic about how the wealthy see the rest of us wage slaves.  (Hmmm, Global Elites should really be issued their own passports identifying them as not citizens of any country and therefore not entitled to any country’s protections.  Sounds like a fair deal to me in exchange for disenheriting American children born to illegal housekeepers and landscapers.)  This gels with the other study referenced in the New York Times titled “The Rich Lack Empathy” (and water is wet)  about how rich people are less empathic people because they don’t have to be.  In other words, if you’re a working class bloke, you have to be nicer to people to get them to do things for you.  Business units might keep that in mind next time they need the inventors to come up with some get rich quick product.

Speaking of inventorship, I sympathize with Peter Daou and James Boyce in their suit against Arianna Huffington over the genesis of the HuffingtonPost.  You have no idea how hard it is to get on a patent when a chemist who uses your ideas wants it all to himself like some spoiled child clutching his toy screaming, “MINE!, MINE!, MINE!”  Then there’s the documentation and lab notebooks and powerpoint slides and time stamps and endless meetings with lawyers.  Been there, done that.  For what it’s worth, I’m siding with Boyce and Daou on this one.  In my best, “I am not a lawyer” mode, I find argument that the pieces that were proposed and assembled were not unique or innovative to be specious.  The functional groups on a new drug entity are also not unique.  They occur in nature, er, naturally.  It is how they are put together and whether they solve a problem not previously addressed that makes them new creations.  I think we can all agree that HuffPo filled a need that did not previously exist on the left.  Well, some may argue that it *still* doesn’t serve that need but it is without a doubt a huge success and if it didn’t have this quasi libertarian Clinton Derangement Syndrome side effect, probably not intended by its creators, it would be a great addition to the left blogosphere.

But what can you expect from Arianna Huffington, whose former husband spent a king’s ransom for a senate seat he did not win?  I would have graciously cut Boyce and Daou in for a share of the immense wealth the site has generated. It must really burn their oatmeal that Breitbart is taking credit.   Even a token million or two would have been sufficient.  It’s a way to say, “Thank You”.  But then, I am an empathic working class person, not Arianna Huffington, who only kisses the asses of the people wealthier than her.

Podcast for the day: Melvyn Bragg of In Our Time has a two part series on the Industrial Revolution.  These podcasts are frequently entertaining when Bragg impatiently tells his guests to get to the point.  I think part 2, Consequences of the Industrial Revolution, is more relevant to our present day events as Bragg and his guests discuss the impact of the industrial revolution on society in general and tease out why it is so important for industrialists that religion remain the “opiate of the masses”.  Stick with it.  There’s some meaty goodness there.

And now, for something completely beautiful.  Anaheim Ballet has a youtube channel where they showcase the elegance coupled with strength of ballet.  Here’s a video of athletic loveliness.




29 Responses

  1. Now if only the male ballet dancers would go on pointe they would be as cool as the ballerinas.

  2. “Just Get it Done” …. the perfect slogan for my day. I had to get up before 6am to prepare for a 9am meeting…. then it’s one thing after another until 5:30-ish when I can finally come home again.

    And I thought I’d have nothing but time to blog when I quit my job….

    • Me too! Turns out I attend just as many meetings and have more to do.

      People left me alone when I was working but now they ask me to do this little thing or that little thing or worse, I actually volunteer myself for this stuff!

  3. Learned 2 things about Daley in my morning reading (yes, he’s a JP Morgan exec–ie, big bonuses):

    He’s against Obamacare.

    He’s against the Financial Reform Bill (ie, tighter regs on big banks).

    Tells ya a lot about where Obama’s going, given Daley’s preferences, eh?

  4. One of the sons is into the cowboy culture (he milks dairy cows and helps out farming so he’s not a poser), anyway one of his pals had a lighter that had an audio chip embedded with the phrase, “Git ‘er dun!”

    Too bad congress isn’t on piece work when it come to pay, you would see a bit more progress.

  5. and if it didn’t have this quasi libertarian Clinton Derangement Syndrome side effect, probably not intended by its creators, it would be a great addition to the left blogosphere.

    Arianna is one of the originators of CDS. She went from republican elitist to liberal elitist and was one of the original Naderdolts who thought Gore should lose to teach centrist democrats a lesson. Other than that I think she has created a place where lots of differing views can be expressed.

    • A whole lot of censorship goes on over at Huff N’ Puff.

    • Before being a Naderite, she was a Newtie girl. She exported her CDS from Newt to Nader.

    • Except for the fact that very seldom anyone in the so called left is talking about the poor and the blue color workers. It’s all nice educated or rich people write about their own interest.

      As far as the lower 20%-30% of the population the HuffPo is the WaPo.

      Great achievement

    • There is so much “celebrity” culture and down-right sensationalism on that web site. And it is based on links to articles whose authors are not compensated for their content, which means fewer real writers can stay in the business, and she’ll have more fluff. It could have been a contender with a less celebrity besotten person at the helm.

  6. OT: Pentagon sending 1200 more troops to Afghanistan.

  7. Great post, RD. I would not be surprised to see a Democratic House, Democratic losses in the Senate and a Republican President after the next election. I think many Americans will be voting against incumbents until someone “gets it done.”

    As if you did not already know from your knowledge of the industry, this 24/7 WallSt site lists Merck (number 2 at 17,500 laid off) and Pfiser (number 10 at 6000) as among the top 10 layoffs of 2010:


    The USPS, Verizon, Sam’s Club, City of NY, HP, Illinois Public Schools, Proctor & Gable, and NY State are also on the list.


  8. Tell ya what. You don’t imply that every person from a Southern state is a redneck and all older people are Republicans like your mom and I won’t assume you are like Snookie.

    • Snookie? RD is at least a J-wow.

    • Sorry about that. I didn’t mean to take it out on the South. They are very polite when they totally screw up.
      And no, I don’t know any guidettes like Snooki around here. I think they hang out in closer to staten island.

  9. I took a look after I stopped hitting my head on the wall. I think the headline is misleading. Rep. Israel was specifically asked whether it was his goal to win back enough seats to make her Speaker again and he replied that they are trying to win back the House:

    “‘We’re all trying to win it back,’ Israel said on MSNBC when asked if it was Democrats’ goal of winning back enough seats to make Pelosi, the former Speaker and new minority leader, the next Speaker.”

    So I am not sure his focus is on former Speaker Pelosi as the article and headline assumes — sounds like it is just on re-taking the House.

    Then again, I am not sure how she got the minority leader position after the great losses of the election.


  10. Great piece RD. Beautiful video too. You know? I just want to say that as an American — the deregulation/mismanagement of your industry sort of worries me.

    This same thing happened in the industry I used to work in. So, without NEWS and SCIENCE well?
    I think this is one of the reasons we are getting the feeling that the right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing any place in this country. You really capture that in your opening grafs.

    This is not a time when politicians should be playing games with Americans.

    And? With things happening like all the songbirds falling out of the sky — or the fish washing up dead on beaches?

    Wouldn’t it be better to have AMERICAN scientists working on stuff without a bunch of dumb middle managers? How about a little investigative journalism, no? Instead of the pap on TV.

    Loved the Maori pix, by the way. How perfect.

    • I think you are being mislead if you think there has been any let up in the regulation of pharma. It mist certainly is not the case. We are rightly held to some very tough standards. I dont think there’s a CEO in the industry who would argue that we need fewer FDA regulators.
      By and large, it’s the finance industry that is behind the push to downsize and cut corners. A good CEO will strenuously resist the urge to deregulate. But it would be a godsend if the shareholders would let us catch our breaths and innovate.
      If there is any industry in need of regulation, it is the class action law industry. I’ll be posting on what will be the most egregious case of legal malpractice I have ever read about and the threat it posed to public safety as soon as I can. It’s really unforgivable bit I suspect it’s more common than we think and costs us all billions of dollars.

      • In his 1998 book Turbo Capitalism, conservative scholar Edward Luttwak points out that the “nasty lawyers” do serve a useful purpose to the System: their occasional winning of massive judgements against corporations helps to foster the perception that the System is fair, hence reducing the probability of sufficient popular discontent to create major changes in the System.

        If you can find it, it’s a fine book. Luttwak is conservative, but he is no reflexive apologist for the Malefactors Of Great Wealth. He cheerfully points out the flaws of unbridled capitalism.

        Another interesting point he makes is that the War On Certain Drugs serves to remove large numbers of discontented young men from society–whether or not it was created for that purpose–hence depriving wannabe Lenins and Hitlers of the cannon fodder they would need to make a bid for power.

        • Sounds like learned helplessness. They’re talking about the concept a lot these days on the web.

        • I don’t know. The massive judgments come back to bite consumers in the ass. They lead to overall higher prices and a skittishness wrt research. I’m not against legitimate lawsuits where there is clear negligence. But the cases that result in large judgments now are not from negligence. They’re from unexpected side effects that only pop up in the general population outside of clinical trials.
          You can have innovative drugs with a few side effects or no drugs with zero side effects. Your choice.

          • From the viewpoint of the Owners, it might be best to forgo a few drugs in order to keep their position at the top of society safer.

            Please note that I am speaking from their perspective, not mine, and was doing so in my previous post on this thread. 🙄

          • I don’t even know what that means. There’s nothing funny about losing billions of dollars in a class action lawsuit. And there’s nothing good about not having something in the pipeline to replace the drugs that either go off patent or are pulled off the market because of some unforeseen side effect. That is costing everyone a lot of money and jobs.
            I’m not saying the business whiz kids are geniuses because, from where I sit, they’re obviously not. But let’s not just make shit up about how wonderful it is to sue a drug company. They ONLY people who make out in that deal are lawyers. Everyone else, including the patient, loses.

          • They ONLY people who make out in that deal are lawyers.


      • Yesterday? I got a cold — out of the blue RD and I stopped at a little store and was looking for the remedy and I happened on Vicks — because Vicks-Va-Po-Rub is like childhood redux. I’m looking at the Vicks and WTF? The vicks isn’t made here. It’s made in Pakistan. I felt creepy buying it. I want vicks from here? Like bandaids or Noxema or aspirin, you know?

        I think this is what I mean when I say I don’t like the idea of “outsourced” stuff. Actually, after that big wallboard scandal a few years ago or the melamine scandal and the dogfood? Well– when I think about that in your industry? OMG comes to mind so glad it is still regulated.

        • And more and more drugs seem to be made in chindia too. You know, where they make killer dog food. It’s all a bit scary. Business opportunity: drug company that’s all made in america and promotes that fact. Just saying.

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