Friday, October 24, 2008

Joe The Plumber

Joseph "Joe the Plumber" Wurzelbacher, is a 34-year-old single father who works as a plumber for is one of two employees of a small plumbing firm, Newell Plumbing and Heating Co. During his job interview Wurzelbacher came up with the idea of buying the company. He achieved fame for being mentioned in the third presidential debate of the 2008 US presidential election. Republican Senator John McCain and Democratic Senator Barack Obamamiddle class; the nickname was first used during the third and final presidential debate to illustrate the effects of tax policy on the middle class.

On October 11, 2008, four days before the final presidential debate, Obama met residents in Wurzelbacher's neighborhood.[5] Wurzelbacher, who had been playing football with his son in his front yard at the time, asked Obama about his tax plan.[6] As an ABC News camera recorded the conversation, Wurzelbacher suggested that Obama's tax plan would be at odds with "the American dream."[7] Wurzelbacher stated, "I'm getting ready to buy a company that makes 250, 270, 280 thousand dollars a year. Your new tax plan's going to tax me more, isn't it?"[8]

According to MSNBC, "While Wurzelbacher told Obama that he would be taxed at a higher rate because the company grossed more than $250,000 a year, Ohio business records show the company’s estimated total annual revenue as only $100,000. Actual taxable income would be even less than that." [25]Court record report that Wurzelbacher made $40,000 in 2006.[18]

McCain and Obama Tax Change in 2009

Federal tax change in 2009

if their tax proposals fully in place.
Yellow number is larger tax cut.

McCain Obama
Income Change
in average
tax bill
in average
tax bill
Over $2.9M -$269,364 +$701,885
$603K-$2.9M -$45,361 +$115,974
$227K-$603K -$7,871 +$12
$161K-$227K -$4,380 -$2,789
$112K-$161K -$2,614 -$2,204
$66K-$112K -$1,009 -$1,290
$38K-$66K -$319 -$1,042
$19K-$38K -$113 -$892
Under $19K -$19 -$567
CNN,[58][59] Tax Policy Center,[60],[61][62]

Thursday, October 09, 2008

3M & the Post-it note

3M was founded to sell the mineral corundum which is used to make sand paper and grinding wheels. After selling only one load, on June 13, 1902 Henry S. Bryan, Herman W. Cable, John Dwan, William A, McGonagle,Tahir Farhad, and Dr. J. Danley Budd went to the Two Harbors office of company secretary John Dwan, and signed papers making Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing a corporation. In reality, however, Dwan and his associates were not selling what they thought; they were in fact selling the worthless mineral anorthosite.

Failing to make sandpaper with the anorthosite, the founders decided to import minerals like Spanish garnet. In 1914, customers complained that the garnet was falling off the paper. The founders discovered that the stones had traveled across the Atlantic Ocean packed with olive oil, and the oil had penetrated the stones. Unable to take the loss of selling expensive inventory, they simply roasted the stones over a fire to remove the olive oil.

This was the first instance of R&D at 3M. In 1916 William L. McKnight applied the same scientific methods to production that he had used to get the oil out of the garnet, and bought the company's first lab for $500. From then on, 3M would be guided by science, with up to 25% of sales each year from new products. The company's early innovations include waterproof sandpaper (1921) and masking tape (1925), as well as cellophane "Scotch Tape" (in the 1930s). In 1952 the original formula for Scotchgard was discovered accidentally by 3M chemists Patsy Sherman and Samuel Smith. Sales began in 1956, and in 1973 the two chemists received a patent for the formula.

In 1977 the company introduced Post-it notes. In 1974 Art Fry, a new product development researcher for 3M who was also in a church choir was frustrated that his bookmarks kept falling out of his hymnal. He had attended a seminar by Dr. Spencer Silver, a scientist at 3M, who developed a "low-tack", reusable pressure sensitive adhesive. While Fry "listening" to a sermon in church, he came up with the idea of using the adhesive to anchor his bookmarks.

The next day, Fry requested a sample of the adhesive. He began experimenting, coating only one edge of the paper so that the portion extending from a book would not be sticky. Fry used some of his experiments to write notes to his boss. This use led him to broaden his original idea into the concept that became the Post-it note. Initially Post-it notes failed as consumers had not tried the product. A year later 3M issued free samples to residents of Boise, Idaho, United States. 90% of people who tried them said that they would buy the product so it was relaunched.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Eating your Last Meal Means you Give up the Right to Haunt You Executioner

In pre-modern Europe, the ritual of granting the condemned a last meal has its seeds in common superstition: a meal was a highly symbolic social act. Accepting food, which was offered freely, meant to make one's peace with the host - the guest agreed tacitly to take an oath of truce and symbolically abjured all vengeance. Consequentially, in accepting the last meal the condemned was believed to forgive the executioner, the judge, and the witnessing mob. The ritual was supposed to prevent the delinquent from haunting those people, who were responsible for his or her killing, as a ghost or a revenant. The meal was therefore mainly a superstitious precaution and - following that logic - the better the food and the drinks, the safer the condemned's oath of truce

The White Negro: Superficial Reflections on the Hipster

"The White Negro: Superficial Reflections on the Hipster" is an essay by Norman Mailer that recorded a wave of young white people in the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s who liked jazz and swing music so much that they adopted black culture as their own. It was originally published in "Dissent" magazine. Mailer took on the complicated subject of race relations. The wave of young white people in the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s were so enamored of jazz and swing music that they adopted the black culture as their own. They would associate mainly with black people, distancing themselves from white society. This movement gave rise to the hipster of the 1940s, the beats of the 1950s. The phenomenon of white people adopting stereotypical black mannerisms, slang, and apparel has appeared in several generations since slavery was abolished in the western world. The concept has been documented in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom and other white-majority countries.

For more info check out this insightful article on Race Relations