Risk Rap

Rapping About a World at Risk

Honda Motors Practices Enlightened Capitalism

Amidst all the layoffs, business closures and shutdowns the hard edge of capitalism is a painful experience far too many people are forced to endure. During times of plenty, the relationship of labor and capital is harmonious and symbiotic. Both parties recognize the value that each bring to the corporate community and each parties enrichment and well being is served by the degree of harmony present in that relationship. During down business cycles management may resort to layoffs to preserve the enterprise. Unfortunately this often causes resentments and hard feelings on the part of workers who have lost the means of earning a living. When workers return to their jobs this can cause problems and hurt an affirmative corporate culture that is critical to maintaining a sustainable business enterprise.

In the face of the meltdown in the automobile manufacturing sector, Honda Motors is one of a very select few that is not resorting to layoffs. Honda Motors known for product quality and leadership in product innovation and business processes is also highly respected for its treatment of employees. Honda Motors places great emphasis on the creation and maintenance of an affirmative corporate culture to sustain profitability and market leadership.

Honda Motors decision to restructure the work force, and give workers a period of paid leave until business conditions improve speaks volumes about how management respects and values the contribution labor makes to the long term sustainability of the enterprise. Any remuneration workers receive during the leave will be paid back to the company with unpaid overtime when the workers return to the production line.

The value of good will on the Honda Motor balance sheet has increased exponentially. The sustainability of an affirmative corporate culture will drive profitability, product innovation and market leadership for the many years to come.

We applaud Honda Motors for this innovative and enlightened response to the current market challenges.

You Tube Video: June Carter Cash & Johnny Cash, One Piece At A Time

Risk: sustainability, labor relations, corporate culture

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February 3, 2009 Posted by | culture, labor, reputation, risk management, sustainability | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

US Economy Bleeding Jobs

The ADP National Employment Report was just released. The US economy is bleeding jobs. Over 693,000 jobs were lost during the month of December 2008. The report shows steep declines in all market segments that include, small and mid-size businesses, large businesses, manufacturers, service businesses and construction. The Report shows that job loss is accelerating more rapidly then observed levels during the 2001 recession.

Full ADP report and an explanation of their methodology can be accessed here.

You Tube Video: Johnny Cash, The Ballad of John Henry

Risk: economy, jobs

January 7, 2009 Posted by | economics, unemployment | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Vote

The right and privilege to vote is a great grace of liberty.
Today I had the privilege to work as a poll monitor for the ACLU.
It was my job to see that all people coming to exercise their right to vote was respected and protected.
By noon 10 incidents had occurred. Most were favorably resolved.
A very conservative person who had a passionate dislike for the ACLU had difficulty voting.
We were able to help him resolve the problem.  He thanked us profusely.
The only time American’s lose is when they don’t vote.

Keep democracy strong.

Vote!

Use it or lose it.

You Tube video:

Bruce Springsteen: Born in the USA (acoustic)

James Cagney: Yankee Doodle

Mitch Miller: Longest Day March

Mavis Staples: Keep Your Eyes on the Prize

Woody Guthrie: This land is Your Land

Ray Charles: America the Beautiful

Johnny Cash: Ballad of Ira Hayse

Johnny Cash: The One on the Right

When Johnny Comes Marching Home

The Battle Hymn of the Republic

The America experiment in democracy is still a light to the nations
and the worlds greatest hope.

God bless us all.

Risk:
Participatory Democracy

November 5, 2008 Posted by | culture, democracy, elections, folk, soundtrack | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Viceroy for Life

The Colossus
Francisco Goya

I like Mike. Michael Bloomberg has been a wonderful mayor for the City of New York. I am in awe of his accomplishments as a businessman and as a political leader. As a person, from what I have been able to observe through the lenses of the media I like his temperament, sensibility and believe him to be a good man. I feel a strange kinship with the man. He seems honest, direct is beholden to no one and seems to be a man of his word in whom I can trust. I also believe Mr. Bloomberg to be a man of integrity and his dedication to public service is borne from a desire to serve and to give back to society some of the bounty that society has richly conferred on him. Yes, he is a billionaire and I guess it is at this point that my kinship with the man takes diverging paths. Yet I believe Mr. Bloomberg is one of the best and most capable persons ever to sit in the NYC mayoral office. So it is with regret that I cannot support Mr. Bloomberg’s desire to change the election laws so he can run for a third term in office.

Democracy in the United States is imperiled. The United States once seen by the world as the great laboratory of participatory democracy with the constitution and a citizens Bill of Rights as its guarantor is quickly losing that honored designation. The passage of FISA by our legislative branch of government is a clear and present danger to The Bill of Rights. And during the eight years of the Imperial Presidency of George W. Bush, at times he and his lieutenants seemingly treated the Constitution as an occupational nuisance and an unfortunate cost of doing business for America Incorporated.

The ascending power of the US Treasury threaten unfettered markets operating free from government control. Unilateral interventionist actions into the capital markets and the tremendous power that EESA confers on Cabinet officials to throw a TARP on toxic assets, is a transformational event in how our economy functions and is controlled by the influence of appointed government officials.

The continued war posture of our country and the seeming abrogation of the executive branch’s responsibility to decide strategy, direction and manner of how to prosecute the Iraq war to General David Petraeus’s discretion is a dangerous surrender of civilian control of the military branches.

The judicial branch of our government is also complicit in the dismantling of the great experiment of American democracy. Their autocratic decision to sanction the Florida election that gave Mr. Bush the presidency was based on no precedence nor will it carry the weight of precedent for future cases heard before the court. Bush may have won the election but the protection of voter rights and a respect for the electoral process was the clear loser.

I believe that these represent serious challenges to a free and democratic society and the institutions that support it. That is why I cannot sanction Mr. Bloomberg’s desire to change the law so that he can run for election.

If I recall correctly Bloomberg’s first mayoral primary election was scheduled for 9/12/01. That is a day after that transformative event that continues to inform and direct Americans political consciousness. Though we didn’t vote on the 12th, New Yorkers eventually went to the polls and brought this great mayor into office. I am glad that New Yorkers had the wisdom and foresight to elect Mr. Bloomberg.

But the election process and protocol was respected and continued. Mr. Giuliani wanted to run for a third term but thankfully he did not run. This opened the door for Mr. Bloomberg. I remember at the time thinking that whoever takes office under these conditions will be severely tested by the adverse economic and political conditions of the time. Mr. Bloomberg has conquered and mastered the adversity and his constituents are the better for it. Thank you Mr. Bloomberg.

But you can do one more great service to New York and to our country Mr. Bloomberg by stepping down in deference to democracy. During the next four years you can work to get the law changed so you may assume the office you so richly deserve.

Honor the existing term limits law that were enacted to protect against the abuse of power. Honor a crumbling remnant of our rapidly evaporating democratic culture. Your honor is at stake.

Thank you for your service Mr. Bloomberg.

You Tube Video: Johnny Cash, I Am The Nation

You Tube Video: Be Like Mike

Risk: term limits, representative democracy, elections, laws

October 22, 2008 Posted by | Bush, EESA, elections, folk, politics, TARP | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cedar River, Five Feet High and Rising

The flood of Cedar Rapids seems like an ugly rerun of the Katrina disaster.  Hospitals are being evacuated, homes abandoned, businesses closed, commerce halted and a community is in acute distress.

The City of Five Seasons, population of 120,000 boasts a strong economy, rich culture and engaged citizens whose civic pride and community involvement is the city’s greatest asset.  It is a great city of The Great Plains and its people will rise to the challenge to rebuild itself. The Cedar Rapids Chamber of Commerce lists 1700 members.  Some will do well as a result of this flood.  Construction companies, waste management firms, building suppliers and others will find opportunity as the flip side of this risk event.

This extreme risk event however, may prove to be a coup de grace for small businesses already stressed due to the slow economy and inflationary pressures. As this incident unfolds the disaster response agencies FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security will be closely watched to see how they perform in their recovery and restoration efforts.  We wish them well.Floods and their destructive aftermath are becoming a cruel joke on the American people because these types of events can be mitigated.  I am of the mind that the severity of geo-risk events can be mitigated by investing in the country’s infrastructure like levees, dams and other engineered solutions.

It is a question of priorities and all citizens should ask why the Federal Government continues to ignore the crumbling infrastructure of this country?  Why must needless lives be lost, businesses bankrupted and communities destroyed because the priority seems to be an open checkbook to fund the prosecution of a war that is exhausting the political, emotional and economic capital of this nation.

The administration spends over $10 billion dollars a month to bolster the failed state of Iraq in their nation building project.  What they seem to have forgotten is that the infrastructure of the USA is worthy of this type of investment and certainly demands its undivided and immediate attention.

Consider what New Orleans cost this country and the many billions of dollars we continue to spend to partially recover from the Katrina disaster.  Consider what the return on investment a $1 billion improvement project to upgrade New Orleans’s antiquated levee system prior to Katrina disaster would have yielded the American taxpayer?  Not to mention the avoidance of the utter devastation of a great American city and it’s people.

That’s the hallmark of true leadership.  Leaders need to offer solutions to problems before they occur.  Unfortunately, current leaders are too preoccupied with other priorities and immediate returns on political capital to propose solutions that look beyond the next election cycle or special interests checkbooks.

Today in Cedar Rapids the front line in the war on terror is being fought against an unrestrained river that is carrying away lives, fortunes, dreams and the personal security of citizens that only a strong, vibrant and stable community can provide.Yes, infrastructure is an area where government matters.  Being anti government, anti tax, anti federal bureaucracy are nice radical platitudes that play on voters political suspicions and partisan sentiments; but eventually the bill comes due at all to often too high a price.  This country can ill afford to lose another city.

All politicians should note, as the Cedar River rises’ so too does the personal anguish and political discontent of our citizens.  We pray for their safety and full restoration.

Here is another version of Five Feet High and Rising by the great Johnny Cash.

Risk:  geo-risk, small business, political, infrastructure, opportunity, community, culture, ROI, opportunity cost

June 13, 2008 Posted by | Bush, cities, community, infrastructure, war | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment