• ‘SOLAR FLARE’ TRUMPS ‘CLIMATE CHANGE’ AS THE WORLD’S MORE IMMEDIATE DANGER! With our civilization literally and totally dependent on electrical technology, ‘electromagnetic pulse’ has become a critical risk. The most recent sun flair 25 years ago hit northeast America and left six million people without power for only nine hours, but astronomers say that had the storm happened only nine days earlier in the earth’s trajectory, it would have massively disabled the power grid to a point that “we would still be picking up the pieces three years later.” Scientists and federal experts now say there is a “12% chance that a monster solar storm will strike earth in the next decade… disrupting the magnetic field, disabling satellites and the internet, grounding all commercial aviation, silencing all telecommunications, and frying the electrical grid – catapulting our society back to the 19th century for months or years… and causing widespread starvation, disease, and societal collapse that could lead to the deaths of tens of millions of people.” Notwithstanding a federal ‘EMP Task Force on National & Homeland Security,’ apparently “neither the White House nor Congress is taking the threat seriously enough or acting with appropriate urgency to harden the nation’s power grid to minimize damage.”  [THE WEEK – Dec 18, 15]
  •  FEDERAL OVERSIGHT OF EDUCATION HAS BEEN A FIASCO, as American students continue to drop in skill set rankings, compared to other countries. ‘No Child Left Behind’ was a well-intended Bush Administration program “obliging States to set standards for proficiency in reading & math, holding States and School Districts responsible for meeting them… But because the regime relied on regular testing of pupils to monitor schools’ progress, it became loathed by teachers…as well as conservatives who wanted more local control of their kids’ education.” Washington technocrats have now given up, and new legislation from both Senate & House (evidently with Obama’s blessing) will soon reduce the role of the Education Secretary and revert control to the States, hopefully reversing the academic trend.  [THE ECONOMIST – Dec 12, 15]
  • DESPITE ALL THE BANKING GUIDELINES instituted to protect against another financial crisis, nearly 10% of big business loans (above $20 million), representing a third of leveraged deals originated in the past year, have “persistent structural weaknesses.” According to Regulators from the Federal Reserve, Office of Currency Comptroller and Federal Deposit Insurance Corp (FDIC), weaknesses include “ineffective or no covenants, liberal repayment terms, and/or incremental provisions that allow for increased debt above starting leverage levels that dilute senior secured creditor positions.” [CFO MAGAZINE – Dec 15] 
  • “TRULY AGILE ORGANIZATIONS, PARADOXICALLY, LEARN TO BE BOTH STABLE AND DYNAMIC – resilient, reliable & efficient on one hand, fast, nimble & adaptive on the other. To master this paradox, companies must design structures, governance arrangements, and processes with a relatively unchanging set of core elements. At the same time, they must also create looser, more dynamic elements that can be adapted quickly to new challenges and opportunities… Companies with both speed and stability have a 70% chance of being ranked in the top quartile by organizational health… Three core organizational areas critically balance this tension between stability and flexibility: Structure – which defines how resources are distributed; Governance – which dictates how decisions are made; and Processes – which determine how things get done, including management of performance… A critical prerequisite for sustaining real change is putting in place the behavioral norms required for success – not cultural statements or listing company values, but rather a matter of instilling the right kinds of behavior for ‘how we do things around here’.” [McKINSEY QUARTERLY – Dec 15] 
  • YEAR END THOUGHTS: (1) Latest epitome of east-coast-liberal P.C. absurdity is a student group at Hamilton College whose list of 83 demands include “elimination of gendered pronouns, racial quotas for professors, mandatory diversity courses, and censorship of any ‘hate speech’ that marginalizes historically oppressed communities.”  // (2) Marriott Hotel marketers have decided that the millennials who travel prefer working with Tablets or Laptops on a couch or bed, versus desk, so the chain is now removing most workspaces & ergonomic chairs from hotel rooms. //  (3) Self-balancing ‘hoverboards’ – the latest millennial craze – have an “88% risk of exploding or catching fire” according to U.K. Safety Officials who tested 17,000 of the products.  //    (4) Despite ‘digital’ transition from paper, the average American still uses enough paper annually to consume the equivalent of six 40-foot trees, and it still takes some three gallons of water to make a single sheet of paper.  [THE WEEK – Dec 18, 15]