December 16, 2009

Shh! The Terrorists Might See: A Guest Post

(a guest post by Keith Connor) The other night, I watched a news report about how the TSA had posted specific security guidelines on their Web site. The reporter feigned outrage of how this would only serve as a roadmap to terrorists...and then proceeded to describe the details of the guidelines herself, specifically, what it is screeners look for and exactly what official security badges look like. Obviously, if the outrage was real, they wouldn't have given the terrorists another opportunity to see the TSA details. So, since it's fake, how dumb do they think we are? -Keith Connor, Chicago, IL (If you would like to contribute a guest post on All Opinions Are Not Equal in order to spur debate, please e-mail me your submission and include your name and hometown)

December 15, 2009

The Risks of Genetic Information

In the future, when getting access to your full genetic code in order to determine the likelihood of inheriting certain diseases becomes cost-accessible for the majority of the populace, will group insurance be gone?
The original idea of group insurance was to mitigate the risk of costly illnesses by spreading out the costs among a large group of people.
But as our knowledge of risk becomes increasingly more aware, won't the benefits of willing group insurance become less attractive for the statistically healthy?

December 14, 2009

Farmers vs. Sex Traffickers

Remember, I take my recommendations seriously. I highly recommend the documentary, Food Inc. This film depicts exactly where the majority of our food comes from in a much more compelling way than either King Corn or Fast Food Nation does. In fact, for the first time, it actually made us go out and buy organic meat this weekend (which means grass-fed animals, not processed and chemically enhanced corn-fed). The chicken was unreal. But anyway, one of the rebuttal arguments in the movie from a farmer of a non-organic, cattle prison feed lot defended his business merely by saying, "We're not bad people. We work hard." As if the effort alone determines the worth of the action?

December 11, 2009

Your Gateway to Eggnog

Eggnog. What a disgusting sounding composite word made up of two other unappetizing words. Hence my reason for avoiding this seasonal treat like the plague as a child. It wasn't until a few years ago when I was awakened to its noggy wonder. On a Christmas visit to my Aunt's house, she served us a dessert concoction, equal parts rainbow sherbet and egg nog. Not blended, but served as a part runny, part hard shake. Wow. It was wonderful. A rich and yet fruity dessert that opened me up into the world of nog. While I still only rarely drink it alone, that sherbet drink is a holiday staple at our house, as is mixing it in with your coffee in lieu of cream and sugar. If you, like me, think that drinking the nog of an egg sounds disgusting, give one of the alternatives a try this Christmas. And please report your findings. Also, let me know if you've had a pleasant experience with eggnog in some other child-friendly concoction.

December 10, 2009

Save Up For A Rainy Day

I always thought the phrase "save up for a rainy day" meant, "save up so that one day when it's rainy and you're bored, you can buy something awesome." Seriously. I recently watched the documentary IOUSA, which depicts how daunting America's future debt promises are, in the hopes of tipping the American populace toward the election of political candidates with true budget-neutral fiscal responsibility. It was in this movie where the directors used that phrase "save up for a rainy day", and discussed how most people born in the 80s never really understood the concept of saving in terms of "tragedy-protection." So, my question is, what did you think the phrase "save up for a rainy day" meant? And in what decade were you born?

December 9, 2009

Why Grover Cleveland Sucked: The Song

#22. and #24. Grover Cleveland

Em, G, D/F#

number 22 and number 24
how could this be true?
we got sick of you
subsequently missed you mister Cleveland

you were president
then you lost the next election
than we came to all our senses
said we could do worse than Grover, maybe we didn’t think this over?

‘cause you made the ISS
our first agency
that made it technically legal
do whatever what we want
its purposed claim
to make wages fair
but if you give a mouse a cookie
you know where it goes from there

oh it’s the ISS
you’re the one for us
you can fix everything
that we find unjust
make it illegal to do things we don’t like
or just out of spite,  out of spite, out of spite, out of spite

regulation, salutation, save the nation from temptation
straw foundation, abberation, turn frustration, celebration
forced donation, false salvation, top vocation, compensation
constipation desparate for an explanation.

December 8, 2009

Why Do The Chicago Bears Still Call Themselves a Running Team?

As a Bears fan, this has been a struggle of mine for years now. And with actual talent at the quarterback position for the first time in two decades, we still hear from the coaching staff every week, "We're a running team, and we're committed to running the ball." Even the announcers scoff at this while pulling up stats that rank the Bears dead last in terms of total run offense.
So why not just become a West Coast offense now that you have a QB who could handle it? Because no one else on the team knows how.
Just like a business, every football team needs a mission. Something that you move toward with every decision you make. You hire coaches based on their expertise running particular formations you're building your team around. You're drafting lineman out of college based on their familiarity with and how they would fit running certain schemes.
It's not just about utilizing whatever's available. It's about building toward something. Now you can argue that they should change their mission statement. But, that's a bigger process than just saying it.

December 7, 2009

Red Kettle Campaign Boycott

It's that time of year again...when the jingle bell beggars stand outside the doors of every major retailer and beckon you with their siren song of guilt. Here's the thing about The Salvation Army's Red Kettle Campaign. I really love the charity work the Salvation Army does. But, I'm wired to be obsessively self-aware. And I feel completely judged by these bell-ringers when I don't give. Especially because they know nothing about me except for that one action. They don't know whether or not I gave to the basket 3 stores down just an hour ago. They don't know whether or not I have prioritized charity causes I feel more passionately about than theirs. And I refuse to be motivated to give by guilt alone. Note: this is one of the main reasons these are manned stations and not just stand-alone baskets...and another reason why most churches pass the offering plate down the aisle rather than having a basket in the corner where you can give discretely...more on that one another time. In fact, I will even go out of my way to enter or exit the store through an unmanned entrance. And if this isn't possible, I will slow down my stride and use someone else as a full-body shield to eliminate a personal encounter. Do you have a strategy, or are you just fortunate to be someone who could care less what these people think about you?

December 4, 2009

Make Money, Not War: A Guest Post

(a guest post by Jarrett Harris) In this week's speech from West Point, President Obama cited - among other things - economic reasons for setting a timeline to exit Afghanistan. Certainly, no one can argue that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have not been costly. But is there really as much of a connection between the current economic crisis and the high of these conflicts as has been purported? Did these spur a culture of unsustainable borrowing by homeowners and insanely risky lending/derivative trading by "Too Big to Fail" institutions? It seems that the high price tag of these military endeavors probably falls under the same category of GDP - both are technically important economic measures but realistically have little direct impact on a 10.2% unemployment rate. Then again, most people have been fairly well trained to blame the economy for all kinds of issues over the past year, and perhaps that is what President Obama and his speechwriters were banking on. So was the economic angle of this speech really the most compelling argument or just the easiest way to sell the final decision to the American public? -Jarret Harris, New York, NY (If you would like to contribute a guest post on All Opinions Are Not Equal in order to spur debate, please e-mail me your submission and include your name and hometown)

December 3, 2009

What on Earth is Obama Doing?

As a marketing professional, I stress Expectations Management as one of the most vital tools in a company's communications arsenal. And strictly from this standpoint, Barack Obama is committing suicide. He ran on a peace platform, and promised to quickly end the wars in both Iraq and Afghanistan. So, that is exactly what we all expected him to do upon reaching office. So, when he gives a speech like he did the other night about increasing the troop count in Afghanistan by 30,000 and prolonging this war, we're simply left scratching our heads saying, "Really???" For those who voted for Obama primarily on his anti-war rhetoric, they feel cheated. For those who voted against Obama because they want to "win" both these wars, they're just confused. They're not cheering his turn toward their cause. They just think he's a whack-job for flip-flopping. From a pragmatic, objectivist standpoint, we should be glad that this man took the time he did to thoughtfully think through both the short- and long-term consequences of our actions, regardless of his final decision. From a marketing standpoint, he's hanging himself. (Tomorrow, we will continue this discussion with a guest post by Jarrett Harris. If you would like to contribute a post to this forum on any subject in order to spur debate, please e-mail it to me.)