Category Archives: Chicago

Government Epic Fail: USPS

Chicago has enjoyed the dubious distinction of having one of the worst United States Postal Service systems. And you wanna know what the Postmaster General had to say about it?

US Postmaster General Jack Potter, responding in 2007 to findings that Chicago’s USPS had the worst reliability records said…

…that some managers created the problem by cutting costs.

“They obviously had expectations that were beyond what they were able to achieve and as a result we saw a decline in service performance,” Potter said.

Union leaders representing mail clerks and carriers said the cuts have created an environment in which managers put a lot of pressure on them.

This may well be an out of context quote taken by CBS2 to show their preferred view on the story. But I don’t think that is too likely.

The lack of business sense is appalling, though coming from someone who has worked in the money hole that is the USPS since the ’70’s, it’s not that surprising.

The two main points of the article are that cutting costs necessarily hurts efficiency and effectiveness and that unions and unionized employees don’t like an environment where they’re pressured to work.

Successful businesses require profitability. Profit is achieved by cutting costs, raising productivity, and otherwise adjusting the variants you have control of to maximize the return for any investment.

To dismiss, out of hand, one of the primary methods of improving profitability is to have bought into the idea that any problem can be surmounted if you simply throw enough money, real or imagined, at it. An idea all to prevalent in government.

Regarding workers experiencing a pressure to work, yes, there can be inordinate expectation to go beyond what is reasonable. Many businesses have environments that encourage, rather strongly, overtime and weekends and hours beyond the normal and already codified restrictions. But laws already exist that protect workers’ 8-hr day and 5-day work week. Reasonably safe work environments are already required and discrimination is illegal as well. So what’s this kvetching over feeling pressure to work?

Government-union collusion is one of many things that must end in order to starve and shrink the government back to reasonable and helpful levels. Unions know they’ve already extended their requests beyond the reasonable and admirable into the insane and obscene, and they know the best way to ensure their own survival is to give loads of money to people who can legislate their life-support.

Be careful, those who can legislate can also legislate. And what is given can be taken away.

Jack Potter ought to be required to work in the real world, starting with flipping burgers at McDonalds, and then being a middle manager who is required to actually show something for all his effort. Then, and only then, should he be welcome back at the head of the USPS.

And the unions? They should innovate somewhere besides DC.

Thoughts On Taste Of Chicago

The wife and son and I attended the Taste of Chicago on Saturday. Beautiful hot day with crowds of people and crappy food.

Yes. The Chicago, for all the great food you serve from the myriad restaurants lining your streets, your Taste was garbage.

Note to the Vendors: The purpose of the Taste-size portions is to attract people to your restaurant. You want people to want more.

I didn’t want any more of anything I tried.

The most interesting thing about the cheeseburger was the bun, it was substantial and could’ve supported quite the filling. Too bad all I got for my trouble was a pitifully thin patty and some american “cheese”. Oh, the pickles were OK too.

The Japanese dumpling’s flavors were bland, thankfully the sauce wasn’t. But it was poorly cooked and the filling was an uninteresting lump of some unrecognizable sludge.

The jerk chick with red beans and rice was watery and the flavor had been lost long ago.

I like rubbing shoulder with hot and sweaty and frustrated and happy and all the other people thronging the streets. And it’s highly unlikely anything will change because you’re making some real money at the Taste. But, if you want me to come back every year and not just the years I have someone new to show the Chicago way of doing things (poorly), I suggest you act like you care about the food you put out.

Real…

Real American2011 Mustang: Best of Breed

Motor Trend magazine held a head-to-head between the V6 and V8 engine versions of the Camaro, Challenger, and Mustang, along with the Hyundai Genesis coupe.

It is odd enough and perhaps a sign of where we’ve come to in globalization that the Genesis coupe even shows up in this list alongside traditional American pony cars. And even odder that the Genesis took a solid second place in the rankings. It did not make first in any individual judge’s rankings, but was second according to 6 of 8, and the other two ranked it third.

My heart beat happy that the new Mustang took top honors. Unanimously.

A big and hearty “Take That!” to the Dodge and (Lying) Government Motors cars.

Now if only Ford would fix it’s website. It takes at least 6 clicks to get to the Mustang page. That’s unacceptable web design.

Real Chicagoan

President Obama is a firm believer in the efficacy of words. Some of his detractors are too. I can’t fault the facts of the following article, but I can sure wish he’d not taken the time to consult a Thesaurus and find the oddest words to convey his meaning.

Who the hell does Barack Obama, this morally preening, arrogant hypocrite, think he is? His vacuous, demagogic shtick about helping the “people” fight “the powerful” is getting so old from his lips, and already was so hackneyed even before he expropriated it, that it’s a miracle that even he himself can say it anymore without getting nauseated by his own oleaginous triteness.

Obama spewed the same old effluvia Monday when introducing Elena Kagan as his nominee for the Supreme Court. Let us count the inanities and dishonesties in his introductory remarks:

I know, who am I to talk.

Really, I think I’m just jealous he knew how to use “oleaginous” and “effluvia”.

Coming soon to I, Pandora, new, bigger, better, shinier, longer words that mean the same thing as words you already know!

Still, the article has it’s truth: Why get your hopes up in this guy who hasn’t accomplished anything but being the most trusted untrustworthy person in the US in the last hundred years?

President Obama is interested in power. He’s truly an idealist, so he seeks power for his ideas, and is willing, very willing, to sacrifice personal power if it means the success of his ideas. The problem is that he’s caught hold of all the wrong ideas.

So check out Obama’s Hackneyed Hypocrisy.

Walmart Calls Chicago

No Wal-Mart in Chicago
"No Wal-Mart in Chicago"

For y’all who don’t know, Chicagoans must deal with, among other things, a city hall in the pocket of labor unions. One of the results of this is that only very few Walmarts are allowed to be built within the city limits.

As noted before, Walmart saves money for people in neighborhoods nearby by creating pressure to lower prices in surrounding stores as well as allows people to choose healthier food options because of the greater strength of their dollars.

Despite Chicago’s efforts, though, Walmart continues to try to build more stores here, and city hall just decided they could get Walmart where it hurts while pretending to be for the “little guy”.

Responding to one of the latest applications, Chicago said Walmart could build their store if they paid an artificially inflated minimum wage higher than the minimum wage for the rest of the employers in Chicago.

Lesson one in hurting people: make it hard for employers to hire people.

Walmart called Chicago on their scheme, and one can’t help but grin at this call:

Rolando Rodriguez, vice president and regional general manager for Wal-Mart, said the company would be willing to swallow a Chicago wage mandate under certain conditions.

“If there is a minimum wage ordinance that applies to everybody, and every business in Chicago is held to that ordinance, then the answer would be yes,” Rodriguez said Thursday. “There’s no need for Wal-Mart to be singled out. Why is it all other retailers are allowed to build in Chicago and we are not?”

Answer that fat cats and charlatan pols in Chicago City Hall.

You raise the wage for all employers in the city and half of them will go out of business. The other half will hate your guts.

Nobody will higher full-time employees because there’s no way they’d agree to pay benefits and full-time taxes on top of that exorbitant wage.

Can’t Make Everybody Love You

Why so sad, Mr. President?
Why so sad, Mr. President?

Dear Mr. President,

Today is probably not your best day. After the rush of the election, the thrill of victory, the surge of support, and the adulation of the petty tyrants at the UN, your poll numbers have begun falling, your policies are gaining little traction, your adoring masses are getting disillusioned with the continuing economic problems and high unemployment, and today you lost the Olympics.

Failed in the first round, no less.

Booted.

Kicked out.

Epic fail.

But buck up, Mr President. Welcome to the club of people not everybody likes.

Most of the rest of us have been here for quite a while. My own tale of arriving in this party is a tale of my growing up. The main differences are that I learned it by getting lost in Italy at the age of 25, and I’m now content to stay with this group.

You’re in your 40’s now and have had little in your past to prepare you for this rejection. You’ve been adored and coddled and had plenty of friends to pad your parties for far longer than I ever did.

Fair weather friends are pretty nice when fair weather has followed you for 40 years. But the clouds blow in, and today you found yourself out on your butt.

Too bad your pal Ahmedinejad wasn’t heading the IOC today.

Except he wouldn’t have been any nicer.

The point is, Mr. President, you must accept the fact that not everybody can and will like you. And you can’t follow the simpleton notion that those who disagree with your or don’t vote for you are evil.

I’m neither evil, racist, nor a pygmy. But we  disagree in more ways than not.

So what is to be done?

Once you accept, as I have, that some people just don’t want to be part of your crowd, you must move on. You find the people who do want to hang out with you, and you hang out with them.

Or you put away the megalomaniac glasses, and you find a group that you want to be a part of, not because they like you, but because they are worthwhile.

If you find a group that likes you, they are most likely fakers and liars.

But when you find a group that, regardless of their feelings for you, are worth being a part of, you’ve joined yourself to something bigger than yourself and found your identity in something outside yourself.

Champions are quickly forgotten who fight for themselves and their own name and honor. The ones we remember fought for something bigger and more worthwhile.

After all, you’ll be here on this earth probably not much more than 40 more years. At the most. And if you were only fighting for yourself, who will care at that point. We’ll put you 6 feet under just like everybody else.

Now, the important thing is to decide who to join yourself to. I’d submit that the fact that America’s Exceptionalism is a mighty fine thing to champion. I’d cheer you on for that. And hell would probably freeze over.

I labor under no assumptions you’ll change, though I hope God will see fit to direct your heart in such a way.

So welcome to the club, Mr. President. Enjoy your stay.

I hope you’re not planning on leaving soon.

UPDATE: Morgen from Verum Serum quotes BBC News’ Adam Brookes:

(Obama’s) legendary powers of persuasion will be said to have failed him, though in reality it will be Chicago’s bid that failed him.

And VelvetHammer from Ironic Surrealism gets snarky:

The entire planet rejects Obama

Tis a pity, the Obama, his bitter half Michelle and the Oprah shilled, sacrificed and begged for the Chicago Olympics bid to no avail.