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POLITICAL STREET SIGNS

Posted by Tim Bryce on September 15, 2014

BRYCE ON POLITICS

- Eyesores or useful tools for candidates?

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

As we get closer to election day in November, political street signs are popping up everywhere. The signs began to appear early in the summer as a prelude to primary season. Now there is a morass of signs extending from one end of the county to the other. Although there are congressional races in the offing, most signs are related to municipal and county races, such as county commissioners, school boards, mayoral, and judges.

Since most people do not take the time to study the issues, these street signs are incredibly important to cultivate the image of the candidates. The color of the signs and fonts are just as important as the message printed on them. In my area, there doesn’t appear to be any signs in black and white. Most have a color theme, either a patriotic red, white and blue, or a simple two color sign to cut down on printing expenses. I have seen green and white to represent Eco-friendly themes, but they are somewhat difficult to read. Orange and blue is another popular combination, but somehow it reminds me of the Denver Broncos.

The two hottest colors, that which attracts the eye, are yellow and red, yet these are avoided for some reason. Maybe they do not want to be too loud.

Democrats like blue signs and Republicans lean to red. The American flag is a common icon to reflect the patriotism of the candidate. For judges, it is common to see icons such as a gavel or a scale of justice. Law enforcement candidates tend to use handcuffs, fire department candidates use fire helmets, and school board candidates use a simple school logo. I wonder what icon they would use for dog catcher?

Personally, I like to see pictures of the candidates on the signs but this is typically avoided as name recognition is of paramount importance. After all, you only see names on a ballot, not photos of the candidates.

Because a street sign is typically limited in terms of space, it has to say just three things:

1. The candidate’s name, particularly the last name.
2. The office he/she is running for.
3. The party he/she represents.

Optional: a catchy slogan or motto is useful for conveying a message, or possibly an important endorsement, e.g., “FOP supports Chief So-and-so.” Or perhaps a web address is shown.

Where the political signs lose their effectiveness is when they are either bunched together in a single location or one right after another on a street median. At this point, drivers see nothing but a blur and the signs are indistinguishable.

Signs frequently get vandalized, even in the best of neighborhoods. In some developments, including my own, such signs are banned from display in order to maintain harmony. Inevitably, some nut job will put out a sign in spite of the deed restrictions, thereby causing the neighbors to complain and retaliate by displaying signs of competing candidates. Aside from this, when signs are deliberately vandalized or stolen, this is a crime, plain and simple. I may intensely dislike a candidate or issue, but I respect his/her first amendment right to display it. However, when the election is over, regardless of who won or lost, please take down the eyesores. I do not want to see them at Thanksgiving or Christmas.

A few years ago I was visiting some friends in Ohio just prior to the elections there. As I was driving around I came upon a sign saying “Dinkelacker for Judge.” With all due respect to the judge, I burst out laughing when I read the name for the first time. Since his first name was omitted from the sign, I pondered what it might be; could it be Dicky Dinkelacker? Donny Dinkelacker? Or maybe it was a woman, Denise Dinkelacker? Debbie Dinkelacker? I went on and on with the combinations which seemed endless. To this day, I still do not know his first name, but why should I? His last name has been indelibly impressed on my mind. The fact I remember it is indicative of how important a last name can be. I know I won’t be forgetting it anytime soon.

It is a shame we have to stoop to using street signs. In a perfect world the voters would meet and listen to the candidates and study the issues before forming an opinion, but as we all know, this seldom happens, which is why we have to rely on street signs that create eyesores, and names like Dinkelacker.

How about Denzel Dinkelacker? Or Darnell Dinkelacker? Daphne? Dizzy? Doreen? Dilbert?

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:
timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2014 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  WHAT ARE YOUR RIGHTS (OR IS IT WRONGS?) – The misconceptions Americans have related to our personal rights.

LAST TIME:  ARE WE BECOMING A GODLESS COUNTRY?  – What the “separation of church and state” really means.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern), and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

Posted in Politics | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

ARE WE BECOMING A GODLESS COUNTRY?

Posted by Tim Bryce on September 12, 2014

BRYCE ON POLITICS & RELIGION

- What the “separation of church and state” really means.

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

For some reason, Americans believe there is a legal requirement to separate church and state in the US Constitution. It is now commonly believed organized religion has no business in the workings of the state. The reality is, there is no such stipulation whatsoever in the Constitution. There is only a couple of references to religion in our governing documents. The first is in Article 6 of the Constitution whereby “…no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.” The second reference is in Amendment One of the Bill of Rights whereby, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;…” I cannot speak for the governing documents of the various states and territories, but as far as the Constitution is concerned, that is all there is pertaining to religion.

So where does this presumption of separation come from? Two places: other countries who embrace such a concept, but more importantly in a letter written by Thomas Jefferson in 1802 to Baptists regarding the 1st amendment. Jefferson was president at the time and well known as author of the Declaration of Independence (but not the Constitution; that was Madison). In the letter, Jefferson wrote:

“Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”, thus building a wall of separation between Church & State.”

By this letter to the Baptists, Jefferson meant that the United States would not establish a national church. This letter greatly influenced Supreme Court decisions. Keep in mind, Jefferson is speaking on another matter altogether and he is writing as president, not as a justice of the Supreme Court who should rightfully interpret the separation issue. However, for some strange reason, the letter was used to define the separation issue. In Everson vs. Board of Education in 1947, the Supreme Court used a portion of the letter (eight words only) and interpreted it to mean, “The First Amendment has erected ‘a wall of separation between church and state.’ That wall must be kept high and impregnable.” How they came to this conclusion mystifies Constitutional scholars to this day. It is interesting the Supreme Court based its conclusion on an interpretation of a letter, not the Constitution itself.

Based on this Supreme Court decision, atheists and attorneys have used this as a means to drive God out of our country. Today, we hear of football teams prohibited from saying a nondenominational prayer before or after a game, Christmas trees have been banned from schools, students are being suspended for saying “bless you” after hearing someone sneeze, there are movements to remove anything pertaining to God out of government buildings, and there is even an attack on our national motto, “In God we Trust.”

The latest attack on God is found in the US Navy where atheists started a movement to remove Gideon Bibles from Navy lodges. These Bibles were provided for the comfort of sailors staying at the lodges. The removal of the Bibles created a furor when it was reported in the press. So much so, the Navy ordered the Gideon Bibles returned back into the lodge rooms.

Make no mistake, Christianity is under attack here, not Judaism, Islam, or even witchcraft, and it appears to be a concerted effort. Some contend it is intended to undermine the country as Christianity played an important role in the founding of America. Whatever the reason, we must beware of such attacks and be prepared to repel them,

If by some chance, our opponents are successful in eradicating God in the federal government, I am one of those who believe all federal employees should work on Christmas Day, particularly postal workers.

Is there really a separation of church and state in the Constitution? No, but it will be necessary to bring a lawsuit to the Supreme Court to overturn their 1947 misinterpretation.

I pray we do not become a Godless country. Without God, the country will fall.

Keep the Faith!

P.S. – Even Sky Masterson read the Gideon Bible, as did Rocky Raccoon.

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:
timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2014 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  POLITICAL STREET SIGNS – Eyesores or useful tools for candidates?

LAST TIME:  THE HARSH REALITY OF THE WAR ON TERROR  – It’s not going away any time soon.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern), and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

Posted in Politics, Religion | Tagged: , , , , | 12 Comments »

THE HARSH REALITY OF THE WAR ON TERROR

Posted by Tim Bryce on September 10, 2014

BRYCE ON POLITICS

- It’s not going away any time soon.

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

President Obama would have us believe the War on Terror (WOT) is over and that America won. Nothing could be further from the truth. The WOT is admittedly an unconventional war, as there wasn’t any formal declaration, but we have been engaged in it since 9-11, making it 13 years old and the longest war in our history. And the ugly truth is, we will not be getting out of it any time soon.

The WOT is obviously not a typical war in the sense of battle lines, tactical military strategy, and sophisticated equipment. Instead, it is a terrorist campaign where we play defense while our opponents play offense. More importantly, it is necessary to acknowledge we are engaged in a religious war with the Muslims. The fact we are Americans is less important than we are perceived as infidels, the non-believers, and the perceived enemies of Islam. This means it will never end as long as there are Muslim fanatics.

Some will say, “What about the good Muslims, those who do not believe in Jihad?” Those who do not condemn the terrorist actions are encouraging the terrorists through their inaction. It would be an interesting experiment to ask Muslims in enclaves like Dearborn, Michigan to sign a petition condemning Muslim terrorism.

Let us also consider how Muslims have immigrated, some would say infiltrated, not just the United States, but the United Kingdom, Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, and the Netherlands, where they have become vocal about changing local laws to adapt to Sharia Law. This has become of great concern to those of us who are happy with our existing laws. Slowly though, Muslims are joining local governments to exert such influence. It has also been said there are Muslims in the Federal Government as well, including the White House. This has become rather unnerving to citizens.

Muslim extremists will not be happy until the western world has capitulated to Islam, regardless how long it might take. This means the WOT will continue unabated and a flash point is inevitable, such as targeting another American icon (e.g., Statue of Liberty, Hoover Dam, Mount Rushmore, etc.) or perhaps something more diabolical such as destroying our electrical grid, capturing or killing our government, or igniting a nuclear device on our shores. Whatever it is, we will again find ourselves having to make some hard decisions as to how to respond.

Should this happen, do not be surprised if Muslims in this country are rounded up and interred in camps as we did with the Japanese-Americans in World War II or perhaps deported to the Middle East. The anger by the American people after such a cataclysmic event will be such that all Muslims will live in fear of our response.

The WOT will not stop until the Muslim extremists either call for a cessation of violence or they are eradicated completely. That is the harsh reality we must all live with.

(Also, see “The War on Terror” (Apr 19, 2010))

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:
timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2014 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  ARE WE BECOMING A GODLESS COUNTRY? – What the “separation of church and state” really means.

LAST TIME:  THE DISAPPEARING MIDDLE CLASS  – And how energy independence can alleviate the problem.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern), and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

Posted in Politics | Tagged: , , , , | 12 Comments »

THE DISAPPEARING MIDDLE CLASS

Posted by Tim Bryce on September 8, 2014

BRYCE ON THE ECONOMY

- And how energy independence can alleviate the problem.

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)

To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

I recently read a couple of articles regarding the shrinking American middle class. It seems the rich get richer and the poor are doing much better thanks to escalated welfare spending, but the middle class is struggling.

The middle class is an important part of our country both economically and politically. They represent the engine which fuels the economy. They purchase the consumer products, the homes, food, automobiles, and pay the lion’s share of the taxes. The upper class also pays taxes, but not to the degree of the middle class. The poor, of course, contribute nothing.

According to “Forbes,” 60% of middle class American households have experienced a decrease in income. As the Middle Class diminishes, the poor will inevitably feel the squeeze. Politically, it is not the rich or the poor who run the country, it is the Middle Class. The rich are active politically, but it is the Middle Class, representing the land owners and consumers who ultimately dictate the course of the country politically. The poor doesn’t really figure in the formula as they are the most apathetic of voters.

As Aristotle noted centuries ago, “The most perfect political community must be amongst those who are in the middle rank, and those states are best instituted wherein these are a larger and more respectable part, if possible, than both the other; or, if that cannot be, at least than either of them separate.”

As the upper and lower classes expand beyond the size of the middle, anarchy will likely ensue. This has been demonstrated in numerous countries around the world. It also means the Middle Class must be allowed to flourish. To do so, we need an increase in full-time jobs, not part-time. Currently, the Obama administration is pushing for an increase in the minimum wage. Can we not achieve the same goal by lowering costs as opposed to raising the minimum wage? According to the government, inflation is at a paltry 2%. Hardly worth worrying about, right? Interestingly, the price of gasoline is not included in their equation. This is strange as delivery costs affect everything. In reality, we have a much higher inflation rate than the government is willing to admit. I would therefore argue:

DON’T RAISE THE MINIMUM WAGE, LOWER THE PRICE OF OIL!

Our priorities are wrong, instead of raising capital, let’s cut spending instead. Unfortunately, this is not a popular concept with the current administration. However, if we dedicated ourselves to energy independence, we would lower the cost of living, thereby putting more money in everyone’s pocket. In addition, we wouldn’t threaten the closure of businesses, but encourage expansion, and lastly, we would be creating legitimate full-time jobs, not just flipping burgers.

Let’s not kid ourselves, spiraling inflation is the real culprit here, based on the rising cost of energy. It’s the ugly little secret the government doesn’t want you to know. However, if we pronounced a national objective of energy independence, we would be stoking the engine of the middle class, not to mention freeing ourselves from entanglements in the Middle East. We obviously have ample resources and technology to achieve the goal, but we seem to lack the will to do so, e.g., the Keystone XL pipeline, the New England pipeline, and the massive gas field in Pennsylvania.

This is all very real and all very plausible, but we either lack the vision to tackle this goal or there is a premeditated attempt to dismantel the country. Let’s be clear about one thing, if the middle class continues to decline, it puts us on a clear path to destruction. Don’t let anybody tell you otherwise.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:
timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2014 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  THE HARSH REALITY OF THE WAR ON TERROR – It’s not going away any time soon.

LAST TIME:  RETIREMENTLAND  – Do we ever truly retire?

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern), and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

Posted in Economics, Politics | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

RETIREMENTLAND

Posted by Tim Bryce on September 5, 2014

BRYCE ON LIFE

- Do we ever truly retire?

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

I have written about retirement in the past and I still regard it as a mystery. I have had more friends “check out” recently for a variety of reasons. They all claim to be happy to be retired, that they have been planning it for years, and that I am a chump to keep working. I consider this all a bald-faced lie. I’ve seen some become musicians, where they play pickup gigs. I’ve seen others become golfers, playing the same course over and over again like a gerbil on a treadmill. And they all seem to be obsessed with Viagra or Cialis for some reason.

Perhaps the hardest part to retirement is adjusting to the pace. At first, most men treat it like a vacation, but they quickly learn it is a vacation that never ends. Initially, they tend to get more rest, eat a little more than they should, take a trip, putter around the house tackling minor assignments, but then they become bored and restless. Instead of having someone set a schedule for them, like their company and boss, now they have to make their own schedule.

Retirement seems to turn executives into gardeners where they spend countless hours turning their property into lush Japanese gardens. At parties, they argue who has the best “Shishi-odoshi” in their “Koi” ponds to scare away deer. I also think they learn the language as part of this process. They have been known to blurt out words and expressions like, “Hai,” “non desu ka,” “Ohayou gozaimasu,” “douzo,” and “domo.”

Some prefer cultivating vegetable gardens, complete with bib overalls and a straw hat. Somehow I am reminded of Eddie Albert. Tomatoes, corn, and cucumbers are common. The more ambitious farmers try their hand at such things as kale, cabbage, bok choy, okra, snow peas, and a variety of hot peppers. Normally, these are tried only once before reverting back to tomatoes, corn, and cucumbers. For some strange reason, broccoli is avoided at all costs.

At high school reunions I would hear classmates boast they were going to retire soon. They do this in such a way as to make it sound like a game, whereby the winner is the person who retires first. They looked forward to sleeping in during the mornings, travel to exotic locations, or catch up on their reading. Inevitably, they find their body is conditioned to sleep a few scant hours and they still rise before sunup, they rarely travel outside of the county, and the only reading they do is in the bathroom. If anything, they become addicted to television shows like “Jerry Springer,” “The View,” and “Dr. Phil.” Not surprising, they develop the habit of talking back to the television screen as if the host could hear them. The only thing stranger is when they offer applause to the television set.

The retirees start attending breakfasts and lunches with former colleagues. Inevitably old war stories are told over and over again. Breakfast usually consists of eggs, bacon, pork sausage, goetta, scrapple, pancakes, biscuits and gravy, grits, hash browns, and coffee, lots of coffee. Lunches usually includes pastrami, corned beef, hamburgers, chicken wings, and an occasional glass of beer or wine. It is no small wonder they begin to gain weight. There is also the ceremonial toothpick afterwards. They suddenly find themselves volunteering time to charitable organizations and political campaigns. And they spend an inordinate amount of time in doctor offices, where they develop an interest in women magazines.

Retirees discover they miss the socialization they enjoyed at work, which is why they gravitate to group meetings. They realize it is important to their mental health to be able to discuss current events and their observations on life. Without such discussions they become despondent.

To keep busy, it is not unusual for them to go to the post office, not just once, but twice a day (once in the morning and later in the afternoon). They also go for haircuts at dawn. Rarely do they really need a haircut as their hair is now thin. More importantly, it is to manicure the wild hairs growing in their eyebrows, ears, and nose. They also spend considerable time at sporting events for their grandchildren, where they can catch up on their sleep.

More importantly, I’ve noticed my friends who recently retired get bored easily. Although they pledged to live a life of ease, one by one I see them all going back to take on a job of some kind. Maybe not as rigorous as before, but necessary to practice mental gymnastics. I’ve seen some people become clerks at some of the home and garden superstores, others work at golf courses, and some go back to what they were doing before retiring. Frankly, I do not know anyone who has dropped out completely. Somehow, they all find a way to go back to work. Maybe retirement is not what they thought it would be.

In spite of all this, I am considered the “oddball” for continuing to work. I still enjoy meeting and working with people; I still enjoy jousting in debate, but more than anything, I still believe I have a role to play and am not ready for the curtain to fall. Besides, I look kind of silly wearing a hardware store apron.

For more on Retirement, see:
Retirement
Retirement Breakdown
What? Me Retire?

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:
timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2014 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  THE DISAPPEARING MIDDLE CLASS – And how energy independence can alleviate the problem.

LAST TIME:  TREATY OF PARIS  – Today we celebrate an important anniversary.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern), and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

Posted in Life | Tagged: , , , , | 11 Comments »

TREATY OF PARIS

Posted by Tim Bryce on September 3, 2014

BRYCE ON HISTORY

- Today we celebrate an important anniversary.

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

Today, we celebrate the signing of the Treaty of Paris. “The Treaty of Paris?” you ask, “What in the world is that? Does it have something to do with ending the Vietnam War?” Not quite.

Actually, it is one of the most important documents in our history, ending a world war 231 years ago, and something young people should be cognizant of in terms of the history of our country.

Most Americans would be surprised to learn our Revolutionary War had lasted nearly eight years, much longer than the World Wars and American Civil War. It began on April 19, 1775 with the Battles of Lexington and Concord, and ended on this date, September 3, 1783. Actually, it had ended two years earlier with the surrender of British General Cornwallis at Yorktown on October 19, 1781. Why the delay? We must understand the War was not simply between Britain and the Colonies. In reality, it had turned into a World War where Britain also faced France, Netherlands, Spain, and Mysore (southern India). This was based on the alliances the Colonies had built up during the War, particularly with France. Although fighting had stopped in the Colonies, the war continued in other areas, such as the Caribbean.

To negotiate the Treaty of Paris, the United States was represented by Benjamin Franklin (serving as an American commissioner), John Jay (serving as Minister to Spain), Henry Laurens (Peace Commissioner), and John Adams (special envoy to negotiate peace). One of the key points to the treaty was to have Britain recognize the United States as a free, sovereign, and independent state. Boundaries were also set, fishing rights established, and interestingly, both Britain and America would have perpetual access to the Mississippi River. This would, of course, change with time.

Franklin was almost successful in having the British cede Quebec over to the Americans, but the British ultimately refused. Imagine the future of both Canada and America had Franklin been successful. In all likelihood, we would have probably become a unified North America.

Because this was a World War, the British also had to negotiate separate treaties with France, Spain, and the Netherlands. By doing so, ownership of islands in the the Caribbean were reassigned, and Britain ceded its territorial rights in Florida over to Spain.

With the Treaty signed and behind them, the founding fathers moved on to formalizing their government. By 1787, they had replaced the Articles of Confederation with the United States Constitution. George Washington would take the oath of office as President two years later. All of this would probably never have happened had there not been the Treaty of Paris.

An interesting footnote: As one of the signers of the Treaty of Paris, Benjamin Franklin, became the only person to sign the three most important documents thus far in American history, the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, and the Treaty of Paris.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:
timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2014 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  RETIREMENTLAND – Do we ever truly retire?

LAST TIME:  EXCUSES  – Why are the trucks breaking down?

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern), and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

Posted in History | Tagged: , , , , | 4 Comments »

EXCUSES

Posted by Tim Bryce on August 29, 2014

BRYCE ON LIFE

- Why are the trucks breaking down?

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)

To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

Down here in Florida we have a lot of problems with trucks breaking down, particularly those used for delivery or maintenance. It seems every time you make an appointment with a driver to drop something off or a workman who is scheduled to perform a task for you, they can never seem to be there on time and blame the truck for breaking down. Does this happen elsewhere in the country or is it something unique to Florida?

By my estimate, all of our roads should be littered with truck parts strewn everywhere. No wonder Detroit needs a bailout since it appears they no longer know how to make a workable truck anymore, nor do the Japanese, Koreans, or Germans. I would love to be in the truck repair business as they must be making a mint.

“No Tim, you don’t get it; there is nothing wrong with the trucks, they’re just using this as an excuse.”

Really? Gee, why can’t they just call and reschedule? That would be more respectful of the customer who wouldn’t waste time waiting on an air head who is probably going to do a ding-dong job for you anyway.

Maybe its just me, but I tend to have more respect for a person who admits a mistake as opposed to fabricating an excuse. After all, who does he think he is fooling? Me? Hardly. In our culture we tend to look at the admission of a mistake as a sign of weakness. I don’t. To me, it’s an admission that a person knows his/her limitations and is asking for help. I would rather know this as soon as possible as opposed to waiting for a calamity to strike and suffering the consequences thereof. It is a Bryce’s Law that, “The longer you delay admitting a mistake, the more expensive it will be to correct.”

Think about this, which is worse – the mistake or the excuse? It’s the excuse, right? After all, it’s only masking a mistake and means you are wasting precious time trying to uncover it. What’s so terribly wrong with admitting, “I screwed up” (I would use something stronger, but you get the idea). This is like saying, “I’m human.” I learned a long time ago that nobody is perfect, least of all myself; and, as humans, we all make mistakes in our walk through life. It is inevitable. It bothers me though that we tend to cover it up as opposed to admitting we have a problem. Consider this, the last guy who was perfect, they hung on a cross.

So, you have a choice, if you’re going to be late for that appointment or have a problem fulfilling an obligation, don’t fabricate an excuse; let me know ahead of time so I can plan accordingly. Either that or fix the damn truck!

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:
timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2014 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  TREATY OF PARIS – Today we celebrate an important anniversary.

LAST TIME:  EVIL WITHIN OUR MIDST  – Have we really evolved as a species?

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern), and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

Posted in Life | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

EVIL WITHIN OUR MIDST

Posted by Tim Bryce on August 27, 2014

BRYCE ON MORALITY

- Have we really evolved as a species?

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

Of our 44 presidents, the most prolific writer was John Quincy Adams who maintained a detailed journal of his life, from boyhood until near the end of his life. Adams’ presidency was unsuccessful, but he served Congress afterwards as a dedicated public servant. He also had a keen eye for the world around him, be it social, political, economic, military, religious, or whatever. Being somewhat pious, Adams came to the conclusion, “man is born inherently evil.” This struck me like a thunderbolt.

As humans we are proud of our technology, marvel at our massive cities, consider the artfulness of our entertainment, and have conquered the land, sea, air and space. From this, we believe ourselves to be sophisticated and an advanced civilization, well beyond those of the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, Carthaginians, Persians, Chinese, and Romans. But are we really? We still practice the obscenity of war, and we certainly do not observe the golden rule of “Doing unto others as we would have others do unto us.” In other words, I see nothing in our history that would lead me to believe we have truly evolved as a species. Sure, we now have air conditioning, smart phones, and High Definition TV, but I fail to see how we are any more noble or moral than our predecessors.

In the Middle East we see genocide, where Christians are singled out for extermination by ISIS. In Gaza, Hamas terrorists have vowed the extermination of the Israeli Jews, as has other Muslim factions. They put human shields around their missile launchers and fortifications in order to gain martyrdom and draw world sympathy to their cause. Beheadings and mass executions are now commonplace in the Muslim world. Decapitated heads are hung in public for the world to see and photograph for social media. Such atrocities were practiced well before the birth of Christ. One can only conclude the Muslims are a primitive and barbaric race. It doesn’t take a genius to pull a trigger or blow yourself up. It takes more integrity not to do so.

Russia stands poised to flex its muscles and snatch the Ukraine in the same manner as Nazi Germany snapped up the Rhineland, Austria, and Poland under the ruse of “repatriation.” This gave them the momentum to conquer the rest of mainland Europe, north Africa, and invade Russia. No wonder Europeans tremble as they watch the Ukraine helplessly.

During World Wars I and II, atrocities were performed by just about every army. In both wars, the German soldiers brutally raped and murdered Russians, and the Russians did likewise to the Germans. These two countries were certainly not alone in terms of brutality and savagery. It has been going on for centuries. We saw it in our Civil War, we saw it when Japan invaded China, and we now see it in Afghanistan, Muslim Africa, and chemical attacks in the Middle East. Let us also not forget the work of the Serbs, the Khmer Rouge, Idi Amin, North Korea, Mao’s Great Leap Forward, and Stalin’s purges, to mention but a few. Such heinous crimes against humanity, and the total disregard for life in any form, is essentially no different than pre-Biblical times.

On a more local level, it has become commonplace to hear stories such as a man throwing a baby out of a moving vehicle simply because it was crying; mothers snuffing the life out of their children; sexual predators, people sadistically decimating innocent animals, not for food, but for sport or simple cruelty. We viciously attack each other for a variety of reasons, such as domination, intoxication, a word spoken out of turn, or even as a game. Are these acts of God or man? The answer should be rather obvious. In addition to the perpetrators, we encourage evil by saying or doing nothing.

Evil knows no boundaries. It doesn’t observe borders, politics, race or religion. It is universal. So much so, one has to wonder where have all the champions of peace gone? Where are our role models and leaders; our Gandhis? Even Sadat was assassinated for promoting peace. Certainly there must be some good in the world, but the media doesn’t promote it with the same gusto they do for the horrors of the world. And as the American military diminishes in size and scope, evil is emboldened.

Like Adams, I believe we are born evil, but have been given the rare ability to rise above it, our intellect. However, just like any animal, we have to be trained to be good and we have done a horrible job of doing so, be it by our parents, teachers, friends, neighbors, co-workers, or the media. Both good and evil reside within all of us and it is a matter of our conscience to determine which path to follow.

Education is perhaps the best deterrent to evil, as it tempers the conscious, as does age and experience. Unfortunately, many people take education for granted or fail to understand its value and prefer living by basic instinct alone, thereby allowing evil to fester.

As sophisticated of an animal we like to believe we are, Samuel Clemons (Mark Twain) was correct when he observed, “Man is really the most interesting jackass there is.”

He continued, “Well for example I experimented with a cat and a dog. Taught them to be friends and put them in a cage. I introduced a rabbit and in an hour they were friends. Then I added a fox, a goose, a squirrel…some doves…a kangaroo, and finally a monkey. They lived together in peace. Well next I captured an Irish Catholic and put him in a cage and just as soon as he seemed tame I added a Presbyterian, then a Turk from Constantinople, a Methodist from the wilds of Arkansas, a Buddhist from China, and finally a Salvation Army colonel. Why when I went back there wasn’t a single specimen alive.”

Maybe God made a mistake when he picked man over the monkee.

We do not want to believe evil is as pervasive in our world as it is, but it is much closer to us than we think. It is not just restricted to the evening news. It is always waiting for us, be it in the Middle East or just around the corner.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:
timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2014 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  EXCUSES – Why are the trucks breaking down?

LAST TIME:  A JOB DESCRIPTION FOR BUSINESS ANALYSIS  – What are the duties and responsibilities of the BA?

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern), and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

Posted in Morality, Politics | Tagged: , , , , | 6 Comments »

A JOB DESCRIPTION FOR BUSINESS ANALYSIS

Posted by Tim Bryce on August 25, 2014

BRYCE ON SYSTEMS

- What are the duties and responsibilities of the BA?

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

In theory, a “Business Analyst” (or “BA”) is the intermediary between business people and the Information Technology staff. It is his/her responsibility to interpret and define the information requirements of the business, and devise a suitable system to solve the need, be it a packaged solution or in-house development (or both). Years ago, this function was commonly referred to as a “Systems Analyst,” but this dropped out of vogue in the 1980’s as “Software Engineers” became the rage. “Systems Analyst” was eventually replaced by “Business Analyst” as a way of distinguishing the differences of systems and software. Yet, when you read a BA job description today, it calls for knowledge of such things as SQL, Oracle, Agile development, or programming languages. In other words, they are not true Business Analysts.

This makes me wonder if the industry really grasps the duties and responsibilities of the BA. The industry talks about such people, but have we standardized a job description? We wrote several such descriptions as part of our “PRIDE” Methodologies for IRM and based on this, let me see if I can establish a standard job description:

BUSINESS ANALYSIS (“BA”)

SCOPE OF FUNCTION

The purpose of this function is to design reliable information systems that satisfy the information requirements of the enterprise and are easy to modify and maintain in the most cost effective means possible.

SPECIFIC DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES

* Reports administratively to Systems Resource Management on all activities, and to Project Management on all project specific activities.

* Maintains a line of communication with Enterprise Engineering, Program/Software Engineering, Data Engineering, User Management, Operations, and support functions.

* Reviews pertinent deliverables resulting from pertinent design methodologies with Project Management and the support functions (e.g., QA).

* Prepares project scopes subject to Project Management approval.

* Documents existing information systems.

* Interviews end-users to specify information requirements.

* Analyzes and details information requirements.

* Reviews formal and informal deliverables resulting from pertinent design methodologies with users for accuracy.

* Develops system solutions that can satisfy information requirements in the most cost effective means possible. This includes preparing complete rough designs of systems, and the evaluation of purchased packages to satisfy the requirements.

* Participates in project planning activities, including estimating and scheduling, and cost evaluation.

* Performs system design; this includes breaking systems into sub-systems (aka “Business Processes”).

* Prepares complete examples (illustrative) of outputs and inputs for users to review/approve.

* Performs sub-system design; this includes breaking sub-systems into procedural work flows.

* Prepares administrative procedures for users to execute the manual aspects of systems.

* Works with Program/Software Engineering in providing specifications regarding computer procedures.

* Educates users in the operation of new or modified systems.

* Develops system test plans and performs the tests in cooperation with Program/Software Engineering.

* Designs the logical data base models for applications. This includes defining the “objects,” “views,” and data elements required by information systems. Data Engineering serves in an advisory capacity.

REQUIRED KNOWLEDGE/SKILLS/EXPERIENCE

* An in-depth understanding of in-house methodologies, standards, tools, and techniques.

* The ability to estimate BA activities within tolerances as established by the installation.

* Good interpersonal relations/communications skills.

* Effective writing skills.

* Possess good analytical and problem solving skills.

* Must be results oriented.

* The ability to prepare and conduct project review meetings and participate in those reviews in a professional manner.

* A thorough understanding of development functions.

* The experience and ability to assume responsibility for performing assigned tasks and meeting objectives within time and cost constraints.

* An in-depth understanding of the user organization being served; this includes the information required by users to function properly.

* A perceptive listener, able to suggest areas where information and systems can provide additional benefits to the user.

* The ability to distinguish between real and imagined business needs and diplomatically point them out to the user.

* Capable of discussing user information needs in business terminology, avoiding the use of technical terms where possible.

* Sensitive to the needs of the user and understands the role of the new system in achieving the user’s objectives.

* General understanding of the use of computers to meet system processing requirements.

EVALUATION OF PERFORMANCE

The following list is intended as a guide to evaluate the performance of the BA function. Evaluation will be based upon observation by Systems Resource Management, Project Management, User Management, Program/Software Engineering, and Quality Assurance.

* BA personnel adheres to all pertinent policies and procedures.

* BA personnel have a thorough understanding and knowledge of all development related functions and responsibilities.

* Systems Resource Management, Project Management, Program/Software Engineering, and support functions are aware of all BA activities.

* BA personnel assume responsibility for performing assigned tasks and achieves them within time and cost constraints.

* BA activities are performed according to approved plans.

* BA staff produces quality work (few mistakes).

* BA Works closely with the various development support functions to assure that all pertinent standards are properly followed.

* BA work is thorough and professionally prepared.

* Systems are standardized and controlled; they are also easy to modify and maintain.

* Systems are designed correctly, according to specifications, and are reliable.

* Information requirements accurately reflect users needs.

* System designs are creative and practical.

* Application logical data base designs are correctly defined.

* Writes effectively and clearly.

* Systems are well tested and free of known defects.

FUNCTIONAL RELATIONSHIPS

Function is administratively subordinate to Systems Resource Management and operationally subordinate to Project Management for project activities. Maintains a lateral working relationship with Program/Software Engineering, Data Engineering, Enterprise Engineering, User Management, and support functions (e.g., QA).

If the company has standardized on a methodology, I would add the phases and activities the BA is responsible for executing, reviewing, and approving.

Maybe this is a good starting point to bring uniformity to Business Analysis. By the way, you will notice there is no mention of programming and DBMS skills. They have their place, but it certainly isn’t with Business Analysis.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:
timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2014 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  EVIL WITHIN OUR MIDST – Have we really evolved as a species?

LAST TIME:  LIGHT-YEARS AHEAD  – Using a “Common Core” analogy to explain why our “PRIDE” Methodology is still far ahead.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern), and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

Posted in Systems, Technology | Tagged: , , , , | 4 Comments »

LIGHT-YEARS AHEAD

Posted by Tim Bryce on August 22, 2014

BRYCE ON SYSTEMS

- Using a “Common Core” analogy to explain why our “PRIDE” Methodology is still far ahead.

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

It is a strange feeling when you realize you are noticeably ahead of the industry on something. At first it is rewarding, followed by a sense of frustration when you face competition from inferior products, particularly if they are based on pseudo-scientific technology. This leads me to make the boastful claim…

“What we introduced in 1971 as our original “PRIDE” Methodology for System Design, is still light years ahead of the industry.”

It’s not bragging when it is a fact. Our original product back then was based on simple, commonsense principles based on engineering and manufacturing. Since then, we introduced many other concepts and software to support it, such as automated systems design, software used to deduce a system design based on information requirements. I know of no other product or company who was able to emulate our products. This is primarily due to the fact we consider system design as a science as opposed to an art form. By clearly defining our terminology, and proving our concepts, we were able to do such things as automated system design, not to mention priority modeling, organization analysis, impact analysis, and a lot more.

The difference between “PRIDE” and our competitors is analogous to how mathematics is to be implemented under the new “Common Core” curriculum. To illustrate, let’s consider the concept of subtraction:

“Old Fashioned” Way -

32
-12

20

However, the proponents of Common Core now recommend a new convoluted approach:

The “New” Way
32-12=___

12 + 3 = 15
15 + 5 = 20
20 + 10 = 30
30 + 2 = 32
__
20 <-Answer

 

Instead of encouraging simplicity and practicality, the proponents of Common Core want to twist the logic using a more esoteric approach. The same is true in system design. Instead of a standard and simple approach, the industry appears to be content reinventing the wheel. Now we hear about such things as “Agile” or “Extreme”, and “Scrum masters.” Although such concepts were invented specifically for programming, there are those who are trying to apply it to systems.

In 1971, we introduced the following concepts to the world:

1. A system is a product that can be engineered and manufactured like any other product. We applied the concept of a 4-level bill of materials to represent the system hierarchy. From there, the system was designed top-down, and tested and implemented bottom-up, a common engineering/manufacturing technique. This became the rationale for the structure of our methodology which allowed parallel and concurrent development, a radical departure from the classic 5-step “waterfall” approach.

It also provided for the concept of “stepwise refinement,” meaning specifications were defined from the general to the specific in a progressive order, much like what is found in blueprinting.

This concept of thinking of a system as a product is a departure from the mainstream where most developers think of it as nothing more than a collection of programs.

2. Information = Data + Processing. This concept meant there were two basic components to information. If the data was wrong and the processing was correct, the information would be wrong. Conversely, if the data was correct and the processing was wrong, the information would also be wrong. This led to the premise that if the information requirements are incorrect, everything that ensues, in terms of data and processing, will be incorrect. It also led to the idea of sharing and re-using data and system components.

Again, this is still a foreign concept to most people today who do not understand the properties of information and how to use it for design purposes.

3. The only way systems communicate is through data. This implies the need to standardize data for the purpose of eliminating redundancy and promoting information consistency.

Despite the sophisticated data base technology, which has evolved over the years, data redundancy still plagues most companies.

For more on these concepts, see: “Information Systems Theory 101″

These simple concepts led to the embodiment of the “PRIDE” methodology which we introduced in 1971, over 40 years ago. As simple as these concepts were, people resisted them as it was contrary to the thinking of the day, and still is. In particular, programmers had difficulty grasping these simple concepts. In reality, they would be the beneficiaries of the programming specifications resulting from this process. Nonetheless, they would often say, “This is all well and good, but we do not have time to do it right.” Translation: “We have plenty of time to do it wrong.”

Whereas we still think in terms of the “Old Fashioned” way (“PRIDE”), the industry now thinks in terms of the new “Common Core” way. I have no explanation for this other than it must sell a lot of books and seminars. Whereas others offer magic, we offer commonsense.

Yes, “PRIDE” is light years ahead of the industry today, and probably will still be well after my demise.

For more information on the “PRIDE” Methodologies for IRM, see:
http://www.amazon.com/PRIDE-Methodologies-IRM-Tim-Bryce/dp/097861822X/

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:
timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2014 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  A JOB DESCRIPTION FOR BUSINESS ANALYSIS – What are the duties and responsibilities of the BA?

LAST TIME:  WHO SHOULD WATCH “AMERICA,” THE MOVIE?  – Certainly not just conservatives.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern), and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

 
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