Multiple Mentality

There Are Two Sides To Every Issue

Trophies For Everyone

Boston.com has an article about a basketball league where everyone gets a trophy, whether they win or lose:

When a youth basketball league in Framingham finishes its season next month, every fifth- and sixth-grader will receive a shiny trophy. Even those on the last-place team.

‘’We want them to be happy and come back to play the following year,” said the Temple Beth Am Brotherhood league’s director, Rich Steckloff.

In communities across Boston’s western suburbs, at the end of long seasons on the soccer pitch, hoop court, or baseball diamond, kids are getting trophies not for winning championships, but for simply participating.

Some say there’s no harm in awarding trophies to all, that it’s a reward for playing a sport that keeps them fit. And it’s hard to argue with the warm feeling a parent gets when their wide-eyed child receives a prize.

But others have raised questions about whether getting trophies so easily is the best thing for youngsters.

‘’There is something inherently good about trying to raise kids’ feelings about themselves, but there has to be balance,” said Leonard Zaichkowsky, a Boston University professor and director of its sport and exercise psychology training program, shared by BU’s schools of education and medicine. ‘’We also have to teach kids to be mentally tough, to take criticism, to experience failure, to learn that somebody wins and somebody loses.

‘’We have to take teachable moments to reach kids and explain that there are going to be setbacks and losses, and to be able to cope with that,” he said.

I played little league baseball for five season — tee ball for one, and “pinto league” for four. It was a lot of fun, even though I didn’t always think so at the time. I was #12 on the Yankees, and I played Right Field or Catcher.

Every year, every player received a trophy. Of course, the people who had the best records got the biggest trophies, but I still have a box in my garage with my baseball trophies in it. And the one I won (legitimately) for the one year I was on my high school’s wrestling team. I also still have the certificates of appreciation and such that I got from ages four to about sixteen.

I understand where the writer is coming from — that everyone getting a trophy doesn’t condition kids properly to the disappointment of losing. But believe me, we knew. We knew when we got beat by a better team. And we rejoiced in the fact that we weren’t the Phillies (the worst team in the league; we beat them 26-1 in one year).

When kids are young, giving them a trophy for participating isn’t such a bad thing. But once they hit a certain age — say, ten — they need to start learning that participation isn’t a rewardable activity. Otherwise we end up with teenagers who volunteer for everything for the sole purpose of padding their college applications.

I got accepted to three colleges — one of them Northwestern — and I only had the bare minimum of activities (read: two in-school and one out-of-school) on my CV. Just something to keep in mind before you exhort your kids to run themselves ragged with participation. Perhaps that’s why so many of them cut loose so extravagantly in their first year of college.


Competition for Civil Services

Had this story been presented in a different light, it could’ve been about the spread of libertarianism, instead of a piece about how rural firefighters just “stood by”:

Rural firefighters in southwest Missouri stood by and watched a fire destroy a garage and a vehicle because the property owner, who was injured battling the flames, had not paid membership dues.

Monett Rural Fire Department Chief Ronnie Myers defended the policy, saying the membership-based organization could not survive if people thought the department would respond for free. The department said it will fight a fire without question if a life is believed to be in danger.

Myers said he would make an effort to explain the membership policy to the area’s new Hispanic residents after the property’s owner, Bibaldo Rueda, said he had never been told of the dues policy since moving there 1 1/2 years ago.

In a fully-libertarian world, even civil services such as fire departments would be directly funded by those the civil servants were expected to protect. For further examples, see Snow Crash.

Many areas — including the part of unincorporated Georgia where I live — have a similar policy for trash pickup. No other time in my life had I ever had to deal with such a thing; in Florida, where I lived for 26 years, trash pickup was part of the utility bill, just another surcharge along with streetlight fees and such. But when I got here, I learned from our then-landlords that we had to select our own trash company (and a gas company as well). There are about 20 trash companies that serve my area; the most popular are Waste Management, BFI, and Ocoee. Each of them provides full service for its members — collection bins, recycling bins if requested, trash trailers for home remodeling projects, lawn trash service, and so on. If I want a trash appliance picked up, I don’t have to call the city and wait around; I call my trash provider instead.

There are advantages to having a business (instead of a government) take care of civil services, especially if there’s competition involved. My trash provider is motivated to serve me well, because if they don’t, I can call their competitors. (The prices are all about the same.) I’ve never spent more than five minutes on hold with the trash company or the gas company — the two services I selected from a list of local providers. Not so with the electric company or the water company.

The same principles of competition apply to most business ventures: having the choice between multiple cable and satellite companies increases the likelihood of competitive pricing, which means companies will be more likely to want to give you better service, since prices are about the same. And now that phone service from cable companies, as well as VOIP, are becoming more known and accessible to the home user, even BellSouth (or PacBell or Southwestern Bell or whatever your local phone provider calls itself now) is being forced to provide better customer service and lower prices. Or, at least, they will, once people realize that BellSouth no longer has a monopoly.

Governments depend upon the fact that they have monopolies on certain services, such as police, fire, and post. I’ll be the first to admit that they usually do a pretty damn good job, at least on the local level (it’s usually the bureaucracy that makes things go wrong, not the individuals who stop the criminals, fight the fires, or deliver the mail). The thing is, I don’t know that a lot of libertarians realize they’ll have to give up governmental guarantees like this if they want to live in a purely libertarian world. I don’t know if I want to give up the guaranteed services my local police and fire stations offer.

On the other hand, competition could bring down our tax rates. Instead of paying x amount of property taxes, the tax money could be sent to the police stations directly — or to the bureaucracy, who would allocate the money to the police services we choose. I’m willing to bet that, like BellSouth’s huge customer base, most people would pick the government-backed police services because — at least, where I live — they have a proven record of stopping crimes.

Of course, then you end up with situations like the one mentioned at the very beginning of this article. Enlightened self-interest is all well and good, but if you’re covered by the County Police Services and your next-door neighbor uses Williams Police Systems, calling into the police that your neighbor is being robbed isn’t going to do much good. You’d have to call WPS, and really, why would you spend the time looking up that phone number? Just call CPS and tell them there’s a burglary and you’d like a couple of police drive-bys.

Competition for civil services is a very fine line between complete isolationism and enlightened self-interest. This — free and total competition, one of the fundamental facets of libertarianism — is too much like anarchy for most people to swallow, and given the level of our culture, we’re not really ready for it yet. We can’t understand why the firefighters just “stood by” and let Mr Rueda fight the fire by himself. Intellectually, we can, but it takes a very special kind of person to stick to your guns when the ability to help is in your hands but the rules say “don’t do anything”.


Please Trade Down

As we’ve known in our hearts since about Week Six of the 2005-2006 NFL season, the Houston Texans have the top pick in the 2006 draft, which is also known as the Reggie Bush Lottery.

Let me say now, just so I don’t end up with people berating me a la Vikingjuice’s post on Vince Young, that I think Reggie Bush is an excellent player who, barring injury, should have a long and illustrious career in the NFL.

However, NFL.com’s Vic Carucci reports that the Texans have a lot more choices than just Bush:

[I]t’s never too soon to speculate about what the Houston Texans will do with the top overall pick of the draft — especially when the man with a large say in that decision, Texans general manager Charley Casserly, adds some fuel to the speculation.

Although it doesn’t quality is a genuine bombshell, Casserly certainly caught plenty of attention at the Scouting Combine when he disclosed to the media that the Texans already have had trade discussions with a “couple of teams” interested in moving into the No. 1 spot.

He didn’t identify them or mention what they were offering, but a hot rumor circulating here for the past several days is that New York Jets willing to make a deal with the Texans to move up from the No. 4 spot in order to draft a replacement for quarterback Chad Pennington, who is recovering from shoulder surgery and was recently asked to take an $8 million pay cut. As the rumor goes, the Jets supposedly covet former USC quarterback Matt Leinart.

“I think there’s value in our pick,” Casserly said. “Whether it’s (former USC running back) Reggie Bush, (former Texas quarterback) Vince Young or Matt Leinart, those three players are going to produce trade offers. We are definitely going to have some choices when it comes to draft day.”

That the Texans do.

Reggie Bush could be just as useful for any of the other teams in the top four besides Houston.
You keep trying to connect the dots, and at the end of the process, the picture doesn’t necessarily show Bush as the most logical choice for Houston.

Sure, the Heisman Trophy winner is an incredibly gifted runner and receiver. He does things that perhaps no other player in this or any draft can do. He has the makings of a player who could someday rank right up with Marshall Faulk and Thurman Thomas among the game’s all-time great multi-talented running backs. Some observers have even compared his change-of-direction skills to that of Barry Sanders. If Bush was able to display all of those skills and have the same level of production in the NFL that he had in college, we’re talking about arguably the greatest running back, if not player, ever to wear a uniform.

It has widely been presumed that, because the Texans already have given quarterback David Carr a three-year contract extension worth $8 million, their decision to go with Bush is sealed. Not necessarily.

After a 2-14 season, the Texans clearly have numerous areas to address on both sides of the ball. Bush, nor any single player, is going to solve all, or even most, of their problems in 2006 and beyond. Several additional draft picks this year and, perhaps, next year could go a long way in helping to fix the team.

If, for instance, the Texans were to move into the No. 4 position, and Leinart, Bush and Young were to be selected in the first three spots (New Orleans and Tennessee pick second and third, respectively), they could then choose offensive tackle D’Brickashaw Ferguson. Ferguson is considered one of the better tackles to emerge from the college ranks in many years. And the Texans, who have allowed more than 200 sacks in the last four seasons, could certainly use him.

Furthermore, the Texans have a solid enough running back in Domanick Davis, even if he might not have Bush’s talent. But new coach Gary Kubiak, who was hired primarily for his considerable offensive knowledge, is certainly capable of getting better production from Carr and Davis, especially if the Texans are able to address their supporting cast. [Emphasis added.]

I’m not going to state outright that David Carr is anything special at quarterback. I mean, he had to seem worthy since he was taken #1 in the expansion draft, but he hasn’t done anything truly spectacular yet. That doesn’t mean he can’t, just that he hasn’t.

Texans RB Domanick Davis was also a #1 pick. He can run and catch, and has a lot of 100-yard games under his belt despite the relative lowliness of the rest of his team.

The Texans fans — and the management staff, too — have to realize that the team isn’t one season away from the playoffs. Two, at the least. They’re in a similar situation to the 2005/6 Dolphins — they have the pieces, but the puzzle isn’t completed yet. Last year’s Dolphins had some excellent performances, as well as some poor ones. This year’s Texans will probably do the same, and go 6-10 or 7-9. (Of course, they’re in a very tough division, going up against the Colts and Jaguars twice each year.) One thing is for certain, though: the Texans don’t need Reggie Bush. Sure, any team would like to have him (if for no other reason than to make sure they don’t have to line up against him), but the Texans don’t actually have a life-or-death need for a #1 RB. They already have one.

The top ten teams in the draft are:

  1. Houston, who I’ve already addressed.
  2. New Orleans, who already has Deuce McAllister, and probably will take a QB.
  3. Tennessee, who has a young team and just needs to build.
  4. NY Jets, who probably could use a RB, but need a QB more.
  5. Green Bay, who needs more defense and a year to develop Aaron Rodgers.
  6. San Francisco, whose #1 QB isn’t working out for the best (although in his defense, Peyton Manning had a bad first season too; then again, Alex Smith isn’t Peyton Manning)
  7. Oakland, who seems to have all the pieces on offense, but just can’t get it done.
  8. Buffalo, who I can’t diagnose.
  9. Detroit, who desperately needs a better QB than Harrington or Garcia.
  10. Arizona, who for some reason re-signed Kurt Warner — they really need a RB and an O-Line, and they’ll be serious contenders.

Of course, the Texans could simply trade Domanick Davis to another team (like Arizona or Tennessee) for a standout member of their O-Line.

Because, as I’ve said time and again, that’s what Houston needs. Not a new QB, not a new RB, not a new WR. They need a better offensive line. On paper, the Houston line is passable, but it seems as though they just aren’t getting the job done. Maybe they need a better coach. Maybe the players aren’t playing up to their full potential. I really can’t say. But I do know this:

  1. If Domanick Davis can consistently notch 100-yard games behind that O-line, imagine what he could do behind a top-flight one like the Falcons’ or the Colts’ or the Chiefs’.
  2. David Carr can get the ball where it’s supposed to go. He’s proven that. But what he can’t do is throw the long ball or let play-action develop if he’s sacked, hurried, or knocked down 75% of the time. Just like every other QB, he needs time for his WRs, TEs, and RBs to get into position to catch the ball. Without a good O-line, that time will never be available.

So please, Charlie Casserley, trade down. Trade down for D’Brickashaw Ferguson. Trade down for some defenders and ask for offensive linemen in return. Hire a better O-line coach. Do something! I would hate to see Reggie Bush or Domanick Davis create unnecessary drama by having to share a backfield, especially on a team that can’t pass the ball because the QB keeps going down.

Oh, and one more thing: remember what happened to Buffalo last year. With no valid passing attack, teams put eight men in the box to stop Willis McGahee, who proved that he’s amazing against seven in the box, but that eighth man is the key to stopping him. Keep that in mind if you plan to draft Reggie Bush.


Why You Should Block Facebook In The Workplace

Facebook, being the current leading social network, has experienced a phenomenal growth over the years. Through it, people can easily connect with their friends to chat and share information, pictures and jokes. One of its major disadvantages however, is being addictive. Despite having other commitments, Facebook users log in regularly to catch up with their friends and see what’s new in their timelines.  According to the statistics released by the social site, users are mostly active during the day and the evenings. That means that both school children and workers are fond of taking time away from their duties to connect with their friends on the platform.

This has prompted many schools and offices/workplaces learn how to block a website or to block Facebook and permanently deny access to the users around the premises. Although it may not be welcomed by employees, this measure significantly benefits the organizations. The workers concentrate more on their work, waste less time and improve their productivity. With Facebook, an organization with about 50 workers would waste about 25 hours of manpower on a daily basis if each employee spent 30 minutes on their Facebook accounts. In this case, the best way to avoid losing more hours and increasing productivity on is to bock Facebook.

Workers on Facebook pay little attention to their companies’ internet sources since they are free. They therefore watch videos, play online games and engage in Facebook activities which are known to use up quite a lot of bandwidth. This ultimately costs their companies some extra money as they pay their service providers and IT administrators for resources used and services rendered. Therefore, blocking Facebook also saves a company some money since its internet resources will entirely be used for work-related duties.

Many companies occasionally hire IT experts to get rid of malware and annoying viruses on their computers. A significant number of the malware is obtained from social networking sites like Facebook. Hackers and malware programs know that Facebook always hosts hundreds of millions of users at any one particular time. This makes it a perfect target to dump malware which is subsequently downloaded into the user PCs as they surf. Such malware is unnoticeable and may encroach on sensitive company information. Warning your employees of this possible scenario is not enough to guarantee complete security against Facebook malware. You should instead hire an IT expert who will implement crucial network protocols to block Facebook access through the company’s internet resources.


Document Management Software – Organizing The Documents

Organizing documents can be a real pain for an office or a workplace that is reliant on paper-based file systems. Document management software provides a much better alternative for managing and organizing documents. The following are some of the advantages and features of document management software solutions:

Indexing

Data fields, such as Date Created, Author, Invoice Number, Date Modified, Amount, etc. can be created for documents in order to make the search process simple and easy. Zone Maps is an innovative feature that one can look forward to. With the help of this feature, documents with certain kinds of data can be indexed automatically; for instance, a bank statement’s closing balance or a phone bill’s due date. The software could be set for indexing data from such fields for each and every such document type, with the respective application data fields being filled in.

Document Types

Document types basically refer to the nature or the kind of document, like a check, an agreement, an invoice, etc. The documents can be grouped not only by assigning tags or arranging them folder-wise, but by also indicating the type of the document. Based on the specific or unique requirements, data fields can be created for every type of document.

Stack Types

Stacks can be very effective tools for managing projects. While working on specific projects, the documents stored in the different folders with unique tags may have to be accessed. Stacking makes it possible to bring all of these documents under a single roof, without the need for creating duplicates or changing their locations. Data fields can be created for stack types as well; for example: Start Date, Project Name, Project Details, Project Manager, End Date, etc.

Apart from the above mentioned reasons, there are several other reasons why firms should use document management software systems.


The Importance Of A Pension Plan

When we retire we will need an income and most of that income will come from our pension plan. People should start paying into a pension plan as soon as they can to ensure that they save enough money to allow them to retire in comfort. There are two types of pension, one is known as a defined contribution plan and the other is a defined benefits plan.

Under the defined benefits plan the retired employee will be guaranteed a set sum of money every month. If the employee has opted for the defined contribution plan then the employer will match the employee’s contributions to the plan but there are no guaranteed benefits. IRAs and 4021Ks are examples of defined contribution plans.

 

Everyone needs to plan for their retirement so it is essential to set up a good pension plan. A newly retired employee with a defined contribution plan could find that they are eligible for an annual tax break and the value of that pension plan could well increase as time goes on. On the other hand a person who has just retired on a defined benefits plan will know the exact amount of money that is due to be paid each month.

 

When a person works for a company and they pay into the company pension plan for any given length of time then the person is referred to as being vested. In short this means that the employee cannot lose any benefits due from the pension plan whether they leave the company of their own volition or they are dismissed. A small majority of firms ask that their employees work for three years before they are vested, the majority of firms let their employees become vested after five years and a minority state that their employees must have at least ten years’ service in order to qualify for a pension.

 

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