Saturday
Mar142009

Doctors vs. Angie's List 

Angie did not overlook Branson in her quest to mobilize every housewife in America to the worthy cause of creating a 21st century "Better Business Bureau".  Branson has been saturated with invitations to contribute to the Springfield Market cell.  I mention this because, this week, there was an interesting  national story confirming that "Main Street" everywhere kinda likes Angie's emerging power.  The story involves the formation, by a group of Doctors, of a new self protection organization to seek legal remedies against Angie, contending that member evaluations of physician services has the potential to ruin the professional practices of doctors throughout the land.  Gee, well we wouldn't want to know what Susie down the street thinks about Dr. Smith, when we can make up our minds about Dr. Generic by watching 300 pharmaceutical commercial a week, all of which extol the caring and wise qualities of  "you doctor".  Of course, I am sure that the Doctor Coalition is just engaged in preventive medicine to make sure that no one goes untreated as a result of anxiety over their doctor's competence.

Saturday
Mar142009

Branson City Planning's "Grade Card"

During the winter months, I have had occasion to work with the Branson City Planning Department.  It has been my first encounter.  I was apprehensive, in that the few I know who had experience with the Department had warned that their demands were "unbelievable".  I am happy to report that I did not find this so.  Perhaps having experienced the likes of Kansas City and Dallas, my expectations of "beauracacy" was too keen.  What I found was reasonable people, doing reasonable regulatory things to protect the general welfare.  In conclusion, although you might think it self serving, I give them an "A".

PS.  Thanks guys for telling me it was OK to leave the rebar out of the foundation.  Just kidding.

Saturday
Mar142009

Timeshare Sales and the Consumer Gene

I had an occasion to visit with a group of tele-marketers this week.  On one of those great Ozark early spring days, a dozen or more of the Spinnaker Properties staff, were out on the veranda, (actually it was a concrete & steel commercial building outside corridor) taking what occured to me was a well earned break.  Since last falls confirmation by Katie Couric and the rest of the international media apparatus that the world had "gone to hell", it crossed my mind that selling "ozark timeshares" in March 09' would be like selling Dasani to the drowning.  I was wrong.  A little friendly inquire quickly evidenced that The Dow, The Federal Reserve, The Bailout, The Foreclosure Rate, the Plummeting of House Values, Indeed None of the Above was relevant to their quest.  One of the older and more confident of the group proceeded to explain, with nods of acknowledgment from the group, that their task was more simple.  He explained, what I had not known, namely that about !.5% of the population of this country, are "born with the consumer gene".  According to this unsuspected molecular geneticist, a small subset of our species have an innate and irrepressible instinct to buy things.  All that is required, so he reported, is that they simply have to be reached by "a good salesman" and that they will as a matter of natural course, "sign on the dotted line".  From their veranda vista, I could count perhaps a thousand unoccupied condos maintained and manicured by yesteryear's "consumer gene people". It seemed like incontrovertible evidence and so I, perplexed, but somewhat changed, wandered down the hill to play my part in this extraordinary drama called Branson.   

Saturday
Mar142009

Perpetual Parole

Here , "deep in the heart of traditional values", evolutionist and creationist regularly face-off as to whether this extraordinary thing called "life" is a gift from God..... or a self organizing complex system unceasingly adapting to a dynamic, but insensitve, time/space field.  I will leave these meta-questions to those impassioned students of species history such as Lewotin, Gould, Dawkings, Wilson, and of course Keith Moore.  My minimal personal contribution in this clash is to offer what seems to be an example of a complicated system that I'm pretty sure no one designed, but which flourishes here in Taney County.  The system to which I refer is the "criminal justice system"  Without reasoned planning or structured expectations our community daily goes about micro managing the lives of those among us who have "crossed the line".  While we may be short on cash for remedial education, indigent health services and green energy initiatives, we never fail to fund the cost to "hold fast" in the fight against our very locally defined "axis of evil"  At face there is nothing wrong with this legitimate function to "provide for the common defense".  It is quite another issue when you consider that in aggregate the police, staff, advisors, counselors, lawyers,  judges, prisons, half-way houses and there respective suppliers and assistants constitute a massive economic network not dependent on "the market" for their  CJ system viability.  The CJ system needs only conspire to maintain a steady flow of criminals.  My suspicion is that in todays "information rich" environment the Criminal Justice System may have discovered that stabilized processing volume is most easily achieved by "recycling".  Yes this means that offenders are selectively targeted for repeat offenses.  We need to maintain a little skepticism when the "repeat offender syndrome" is so casually invoked as "the simple truth"  Maybe we need to look a little closer. We might discover that the CJ system has found an evolutionarily attractive model.  It might be called the "Perpetual Parole Model".  Most everyone who reads this will be only spectators, a few will be direct/indirect enforcement agents and none will be draftees.  Be glad your not a draftee.  It would be a long life.         

 

 

Saturday
Mar142009

Are Mortgage Lenders going to be "More Stupid" on the way Down?

60,00 house