Risk Rap

Rapping About a World at Risk

Operation Bristol Sashays On

Bristol Palin is tap dancing her way into the hearts of Americans.  The Dancing with the Stars (DWTS) gamboling Gidget seems poised to surpass the celebrity status of her political superstar Momma Grizzly in Chief  Sarah.  Despite consistently low scores Bristol and her dance card partner Mark Ballas tip toe over the competition each week due to the outpouring of support from devoted fans of Sarah’s sashaying youngster.

Last night to the chagrin of discerning DWTS affectionados, Bristol and her partner dispatched the elegant and clearly more talented Brandy and Maxwell to the loser circle.  DWTS judges awarded Brandy and Maxwell higher scores then Bristol and Mark.  In response to this misjudgment of the liberal mainstream media machine, Palin’s peeps overloaded the telephone banks and text message tally boards with a landslide of support for Bristol’s bouncy ballet.  The will of the electorate would not be denied.  The voice of the people will be heard and heeded.

The well oiled machinery of the Tea Party is suspected of  stuffing the ballot box to aid Bristol, Sarah and ultimately country through the precise execution of Operation Bristol.

Operation Bristol is an example of the dangers of plebiscites and a good lesson about  the perversion of the democratic process and the illusion of democracy.   Tea Party zealots text their DWTS votes along party lines failing to consider the dexterity, skill and artful presentations of  the other contestants.  The pernicious political pursuit of Operation Bristol undermines the honest contemplation of aestheticism and defiles the artistic purpose of art to exclusively serve the bombast of politics.  It is the hallmark of fascist culture that dresses up the banality of pedestrian art in service the higher ideals of idealogical purpose.  Not that I consider  DWTS even remotely connected to art.  But you just gotta love those freedom loving, liberty for all Tea Baggers selling out their DWTS vote for a bit of political satisfaction.  Operation Bristol is good practice for 2012.  Yeah I know all about Woody Guthrie’s “This Machine Kills Fascists” slogan on his worn guitar.   So in the interest of balance and in service to transparency Bristol should consider a “This Machine Kills Democracy” tattoo across her provocative thighs.

You Tube Music Video: Dizzy Gillespie, Things To Come

Risk: art, democracy, culture, entertainment, politics, political theater

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November 17, 2010 Posted by | art, conservatism, culture, democracy, Palin, politics, republicans | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Is Jazz a Religion?

Duke said,

“People pray in many different languages
and God hears them all.”

I’m equally a Jew and Muslim,

both living in perfect peace within me.

I’m a little bit Baptist and a little bit Episcopal.

I yearn to swim in the living waters,

and hunger for the cup and bread.

I’m more of a Quaker then a Buddhist.

Only because I’m American and I can’t speak good Chinese yet.

But Buddha’s Lamp is my constant companion,

illumining my every step in this dark world.

I’m also equally composed of east and west Indies
and sometimes even druid.

The Great Spirit and Tantric arts

remain mysteries to me.

I only know them by feeling.

And yes our Afro Heritage.

The drums, the whistle, the dance,

synchronizes our heart beat

to The Beneficent One’s finger taps.

Yes we celebrate The Holy Spirit

with cymbal, voice and drum.

I am a full dues paying member
to the 2nd Hoboken Chapter
of the Unitarian Universal Catholic Church Respectively.

We meet down the block from Sinatra’s Synagogue.

We are all apostles and responsible

for our small spaces that we rent here on earth.

I know I’m 100% Zoroastrian.

I am mesmerized by the fire.

My heart aches for the light.

I tend tiny candles

and listen for the lonely fire

of Coltrane’s sax.

I’m a nun and
a Thelonious Monk.

We run an inn for weary and lost travelers.

We build hospitals to cure the infirm;

and schools to teach the golden rule of love.

We try to do things differently.

Dizzy practiced the Behai faith.

“OOM BOP SHE BAM” I pray.

You Tube Video:

Dizzy Gillespie,

Swing Low Sweet Cadillac

jbm

Oakland

12/26/98

February 8, 2009 Posted by | jazz | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Peanut Corporation of America

A salmonella breakout that has been traced to peanut products marketed by the Peanut Corporation of America (PCA) is an unfortunate and severe example of a company with poor risk management, weak corporate governance controls and questionable ethical business practices. In most instances poor risk management and corporate governance violations primarily victimizes the company that fails to institute them. In the case of the PCA, unsound business practices has unleashed a deadly viral bacteria into a vast consumer market. Since its outbreak in October the salmonella infection is believed to have claimed the lives of 8 people and has sickened over 500. PCA violations will also cast a long shadow on the vibrant US peanut growers and processing industry.

A brief examination of some of the public disclosures that have come to light concerning the PCA speaks of a telling breakdown in sound risk management practices. These disclosures also hints at potential instances of fraud to cover up lax controls and compliance violations cited by FDA and State of Georgia food safety examiners.

The PCA had been cited for violations and lax operational controls during past inspections by regulatory agencies. Inspectors found evidence of roach infestation and mold in the production and storage facilities. Inspections also revealed that product quality had been compromised due to a degraded manufacturing process and improper maintenance of the operating facility. After bringing this to the attention of company management PCA executives sought out food testing companies that would provide results to indicate that product quality met federal safety standards and were safe to ship.

Utilizing industry standard risk analysis tools like the Profit|Optimizer would have revealed several breaches in sound risk management practices at PCA. Lax operational controls, poor facilities and the evasion of corporate governance practices will likely put PCA out of business due to the damage its actions have done to company product brands and reputation.

Problems and risks associated with process manufacturers like PCA add layers of complexity to determine product risk due to its role as a supplier in an intricate and expanded supply chain for processed consumer food products. The melamine contamination of Chinese milk products and the mortgage backed securities market crisis provide examples of how product liability and consumer risk is leveraged due supply chain complexity. The pervasiveness of products that use the peanut paste manufactured by PCA is very similar in many respects. Cookies, ice cream, crackers and other products are subject to recall. Some of the companies affected by PCA’s contaminated products include premium consumer product and brand marketing companies like Kellogg, General Mills, Jenny Craig, Nuti-System and Trader Joes.

Severe product liability events like this unfortunately also cast aspersions on an entire industry. Associations like the American Peanut Council are most concerned that the poor manufacturing practices and product quality standards exhibited by PCA will reflect on how consumers view the industry as a whole. It is a valid concern for the industry association and it must demonstrate to the regulators and consumers that its membership is committed to sound manufacturing practices, product quality and corporate governance excellence. This is not a PR problem. Nor is it a problem born from an industries anathema to regulatory control or a problem unleashed by some renegade industry member. Industries and their representative associations must also help address sound risk management and corporate governance excellence as a cultural issue that is endemic to its membership. Then industry excellence becomes synonymous with product quality and consumer satisfaction.

In all the FDA uncovered 10 violations and has published its report and carries a full listing of recalled products and other resources on the FDA website.

You Tube Video: Dizzy Gillespie’s Big Band, Salt Peanuts

Risk: product, operations, regulatory, reputation

January 29, 2009 Posted by | associations, manufacturing, operations, Peanut Corporation of America, product liability, regulatory, reputation, risk management, supply chain | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Let 100 Flowers Bloom

The FT reported that the China Investment Corp. (CIC) a Sovereign Wealth Fund with $200 billion in assets is looking to team up with the private equity firm JC Flowers to make acquisitions in the financial services industry. CIC has been somewhat active in acquiring financial services assets in the United States. CIC’s portfolio companies now include, Morgan Stanley, VISA and Blackstone Group.

After walking away from it’s commitment to buy Sallie Mae JC Flowers is loaded for bear and sees tremendous investment opportunities in the distressed asset valuation of financial services firms. It is a classic vulture fund mentality that sees great opportunity in the depressed equity valuations within a sector.

The US banking industry is ripe for rationalization. During the height of the credit marketing orgy, small banks were popping up like mushrooms after a soft summer rain. Cheap credit and funding sources flush with cash from the surging values in real estate and public equity markets put a banker on every street and an equity line of credit for every home. Risk aversion in the credit markets and dried up liquidity are changing the face of the sector and many of the publicly traded community banks need to attract equity capital to strengthen their balance sheets or merge with other banking institutions.

Vernon Hill, the former CEO of Commerce Bank, (recently acquired by TD Bank) has set-up a private equity fund to make acquisitions of small and mid-cap banks. The face and ownership of the banking sector is evolving. A drastic change in the systemic and regulatory structure of the banking industry is a welcomed inevitability. Global investors, regulators and industry executives will be hard pressed to balance the interests of bank stakeholders while serving the vital social function of facilitating commerce and finance for communities, corporations and consumers.

You Tube Video: Bird and Diz playing Hot House.

Risk; financial services, credit, regulatory, private equity, SWF, community banking

June 19, 2008 Posted by | banking, China, credit crisis, hedge funds, jazz, private equity, sovereign wealth funds | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment