Friday, October 21, 2011

NPR continues its decline.

NPR continues its decline. It was different years ago when I was doing commentaries on Morning Edition.
NPR is ending its agreement with a North Carolina classical music station for distribution of the show World of Opera because its host helped organize a Washington protest.

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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Forgotten by both Washington and the American public.

yochi oct19 p.jpg

U.S. Army Private Bergdahl, missing in Afghanistan since June 2009, watches as one of his captors displays his identity tag at an unknown location / Reuters

In the years since their capture in Afghanistan and Iraq, U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl and Army Staff Sgt. Ahmed Altaie have been largely forgotten by both Washington and the American public. There have been no protests demanding the government make whatever concessions necessary to win their release. Most Americans don't even know their names.

Bergdahl, who was captured in Afghanistan 2009, and Altaie, missing in Iraq in 2006, are both thought to still be alive and in enemy captivity. The Haqqani Network, the militant group holding Bergdahl, regularly releases propaganda videos featuring the 25-year-old soldier, who looks increasingly haggard and frightened.

Yet the missing soldiers are largely invisible here at home. The White House and Pentagon rarely mention the two men and have made clear that they won't consider paying ransoms or freeing prisoners in exchange for the men's release, as Israel has done.

[LINK: Why Do Americans Care So Much Less About Captured Troops Than Israelis? ]

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End the Religion of ROE

End the Religion of ROE

[W]e believe that corporations would do better for all their stakeholders and avoid the risks of runaways by focusing on Return on Innovation. An innovation-based measure would lead to an acceleration in investment with positive benefits for growth.

A new DuPont equation would measure the growth in value created by innovation (and again, that is value defined broadly). And like the original, NuDu would decompose this measure into three components:

  • The value of an organization's innovation per person affected

  • The number of people affected by an innovation

  • The frequency with which the entity innovates
  • Arithmetically, that's equivalent to saying:


    How does this guide decisions and actions in a different way? First, by stressing that the point is innovation. A dynamic economy requires growing companies—those that increase their value-added contribution over time. To maximize this, a company should prioritize the innovation that leads to the greatest value. That value must be measured across all stakeholders.

    Second, an innovation should have the widest possible market. As the late C. K. Prahalad pointed out, the "bottom of the pyramid" is a market and not a social problem. In a recent talk at MIT, Infosys founder Narayana Murthy put it this way: "Technological innovation is all about reducing cost, reducing cycle time, making life more comfortable. Therefore: who needs new technology more than the poor?

    And third, the battleground of competitiveness now goes beyond time to market, to include the frequency with which a firm brings valuable innovations to market. GE, by creating independent local development teams, is adding to the diversity of ideas and the opportunity to recombine them, and hence the likelihood of having innovations to bring to market more often. "More products at more pricepoints" is their name for this strategy.

    Looking at Apple, you'd conclude it had been using this equation for a long time. It has focused on building an ecology, earning its fair share of the rewards but leaving plenty for others who can earn them (at the expense of those who have historically extracted margin from market power by restricting the market). Apple's offers are more highly valued than its competitors '— largely for intangible reasons ranging from design to sustainable disposability — and have extremely broad appeal globally. And it has brought true innovation to market more frequently than perhaps any other consumer products company ever.

    If our new feedback loop were put in place, managers would take seriously the objectives it targeted and start trying to make themselves as good by that standard. Enterprises — and this formula applies equally to businesses, government agencies, and NGOs — would find ways to organize around its components.

    It's impossible to imagine all the ramifications when even superficial incentives are changed, and therefore even as we propose this change we don't pretend to know what unintended consequences it might cause for companies and society. After all, ROE was a good thing for decades, until it wasn't. Measurement systems first educate people on what's valuable, then enlist them in figuring out unanticipated ways of creating that value, and finally degenerate into mindless games played for artificial advantage. Could this happen to measurement system based on growth of value for all stakeholders through innovation? Absolutely. But it will buy capitalism a lot of time to figure those out in the meantime.

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    The Kind Lawyer

    The Kind Lawyer

    One afternoon a lawyer was riding in his limousine when he saw two men
    along the road-side eating grass.

    Disturbed, he ordered his driver to stop and got out to investigate.

    He asked one man,"Why are you eating grass?"

    "We don't have any money for food," the poor man replied. "We have to
    eat grass."

    "Well, then, you can come with me to my house and I'll feed you," the
    lawyer said.

    "But sir, I have a wife and two children with me. They are over there,
    under that tree."

    "Bring them along," the lawyer replied.

    Turning to the other poor man he stated,"You may come with us, also."
    The second man, in a pitiful voice, then said, "But sir, I also have a
    wife and SIX children with me!"

    "Bring them all as well," the lawyer answered.

    They all entered the car, which was no easy task,even or a car
    as large as the limousine was.

    Once under way, one of the poor fellows turned to the lawyer and said,
    "Sir, you are too kind."

    "Thank you for taking all of us with you

    The lawyer replied, "Glad to do it."
    "You'll really love my place."

    "The grass is almost a foot high."

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    Tuesday, October 18, 2011



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    Sunday, October 16, 2011

    Up the Revolution

    This is the beginning.  We will take the revolution to the banks in a manner that they can understand and feel.!?detail=hide

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    This summer I hear the drumming...

      -  12:41 AM  -  Public
    An epic photograph from 1970. This photograph of a sad event at Kent State University is what turned the tide of protest against the Vietnam war. My only hope is that it does not take such a sad event to make the public realize the significance of the protests regarding economic inequality that are going on worldwide.

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    US of Corporations


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    . . .