I have wanted to note the brilliance of Cardboard Gods for probably about a year. I don’t watch as much baseball as I used to, but I still love reading about the game. There is something about baseball that lends itself to excellent writing. I highly suggest checking out Josh Wilker as he navigates his life with help from signposts of his past, a late 70’s baseball card collection. I sometimes wish I had that beacon to guide me in the tribulations of adulthood.
I have long admired Toyota. I always try to instill the values of Toyota’s lean practices (part of the Toyota Production System) in my day to day work. My employer is pushing a Lean Six Sigma program and I applaud them for that, but I have a feeling that it will be hard to make the program work. James Surowiecki identifies part of the reason I feel this way in his latest Financial Page column at the New Yorker.
In the nineteen-nineties, a McKinsey study of companies that had put quality-improvement programs in place found that two-thirds abandoned them as failures. Toyota’s innovative methods may seem mundane, but their sheer relentlessness defeats many companies. That’s why Toyota can afford to hide in plain sight: it knows the system is easy to understand but hard to follow.
I hope my employer will stick with the program, but that is just half of the issue. The employees have to buy into the concept of continuous change. This means management not pushing for the big win and staff constantly looking for opportunities to constantly get better at their jobs. I have reservations at work, but I will try to lead by example.
I have had a lot of Johnny Marzetti in my youth. It is a staple of schools across Ohio. It is a simple concoction, short noodles, sauce, peppers, ground beef, and seasonings. I was not aware that it was actually invented in Columbus. It may not be as popular as Cincinnati Chili, but I guess it is something Columbus can call it’s own.
As the spring fund drive for both of public radio stations in Columbus (WOSU and WCBE) pushes on for a fifth day; I keep thinking there was either some fortuitous timing or a bit of collaboration. They even tend to have the hourly pledge updates overlap. I have often wondered why this did not happen more. I could easily change the channel and listen to the other station while they talked about the benefits of membership, but not this time. One of these days I may get around to donating; perhaps when Erica is out of school.
I am not sure what to say about this aside from shocking:
Urban school district graduation rates at a glance
A look at graduation rates for the main school systems in the nation’s 50 largest cities, according to a report released Tuesday by the America’s Promise Alliance. Researchers estimated the likelihood that a 9th grader would complete high school on time with a regular diploma. They used school enrollment and diploma data but did not use data on dropouts as part of its calculation.
City Principal School District (03-04 percentage)
Columbus, Ohio Columbus Public Schools – 40.9 –
41%. I had no idea that Columbus Public Schools only graduated 41% of students.
In the more than two centuries since then, we have struggled to balance the same forces that confronted Hamilton and Jefferson – self-interest and community; markets and democracy; the concentration of wealth and power, and the necessity of transparency and opportunity for each and every citizen. Throughout this saga, Americans have pursued their dreams within a free market that has been the engine of America’s progress. It’s a market that has created a prosperity that is the envy of the world, and opportunity for generations of Americans. A market that has provided great rewards to the innovators and risk-takers who have made America a beacon for science, and technology, and discovery.
Barack Obama highlights the positives of a free market. I can understand why people like to listen to him. The man can speak.