Bob Dole says, the Republican Party should be “closed for repairs”

The Republican Party has changed so drastically in recent years, the current GOP wouldn’t welcome the likes of Ronald Reagan, former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole said Sunday.

The current GOP ought to be “closed for repairs” because it lacks a vision and is unable to strike deals with Democrats, Dole said during an appearance on “Fox News Sunday”.

The Kansas Republican said he was disturbed by his party’s obstructionist behavior on Capitol Hill. “It seems almost unreal that we can’t get together on a budget or legislation,” he said.

President Obama also deserves blame for failing to reach out to Republicans in his first term and cultivate better relationships across party lines, Dole said.

Asked whether he would be welcomed by the Republican Party today, Dole said, “I doubt it. Reagan wouldn’t have made it, certainly Nixon wouldn’t have made it, because he had ideas. We might have made it, but I doubt it.”

Dole said his party needs stronger leadership. “Somebody has to stand up and say, ‘We’re not going to do this,’” he said.

No special need here to defend Obama – excepting Dole’s misplaced loyalties offering the required rationale about Obama not reaching out. What passes for leadership in the Party of NO made it clear from the day after the 2008 election that they weren’t about to consider any accommodation with America’s first Black president.

Aside from that, he’s clear about the reasons why so many of today’s independent voters are recovering Republicans. People who believe in democracy, who accept civil rights, are no longer acceptable to the Party formerly known as Republican.

Why are Wal-Mart stores speckled with Green Dots – and a special note at the end of the post? UPDATED

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No green dots – no inventory

Wal-Mart…is turning up the pressure to keep its shelves adequately stocked by proposing to tie executive compensation to the issue — and has asked an outside auditor to alert workers which items to focus on by plastering U.S. stores with neon green dots.

Earlier this year, Bloomberg News reported that Wal-Mart had trouble keeping its stores stocked as it cut back on workers per store. That has cost sales and driven away frustrated shoppers. In April, Acosta, a Jacksonville, Florida-based consulting firm, began the green-dot program in Wal-Mart’s U.S. stores after previously conducting shelf audits without telling workers what items would be monitored…

“It’s like Tiffany’s falling down on quality,” said Wallace Hopp, associate dean of faculty and research at the Stephen M. Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. “It’s the core of their essence. If you can’t manage inventory in retail, then you can’t manage retail…”

While Wal-Mart regularly cites OSA figures [on-shelf availability] to investors, the company has declined to say how it has calculated those rates in the past — although Acosta figures are at least part of them — or how it would do so in the future. The Acosta audits focus on about 700 important items, which makes it easier to achieve a higher percentage of in-stock merchandise than if the whole store were counted. Wal-Mart supercenters carry about 142,000 items, according to the company’s website, so a typical Acosta audit represents about one half of 1 percent of a store…

When Acosta began its Wal-Mart audits in 2011, it conducted them secretly, without telling store managers which items were being monitored or when. Each week, Acosta field auditors searched for a random list of 300 items out of 700 being monitored, according to a copy of Acosta’s rules at the time. They compiled data collected from most of the more than 4,000 Wal-Mart stores in the U.S…

Acosta’s standard secret audit was almost under way when plans changed suddenly. Tovar, the company spokesman, said Wal-Mart decided that, in this case, it would be better to have Acosta mark the items to be monitored with neon green stickers next to the prices on shelves.

“We thought by not letting the stores know, that we would get a clearer picture, but that wasn’t the case,” Tovar said. “What we learned is it’s actually better to have transparency with stores so they know the key items that particular time of year.”

What they ended up with, of course, is the green-dotted items being kept up-to-stock levels and more. And Acosta – apparently – functions like so many data mining companies by assuming absolute uniformity throughout the United States instead of allowing for regional trends and differences.

Here’s my little special note. A Wal-Mart superstore opened here about a year ago and they’ve had stocking problems from the gitgo. The silliest example being cheese. In our neck of the prairie the number #1 seller is always Monterey Jack. Cultural reasons rule. But, most stores usually carry decent provolone – which is my favorite all-round though mozzarella is a close #2.

Management thinks they should be selling lots of what Americans call “Swiss” Cheese. So, provolone would always disappear while stacks of Swiss ruled the cheese roost. I finally found someone high enough up the food chain inside the store who understood the regional and ethnic differences and he made a flying change in inventory min/max numbers that sorted out the cheese department for months. Until Acosta came back in the door.

Doing a little of our once-a-month Wal-Mart shopping today I found provolone had been allowed to run out, again – and the green dots had appeared at Swiss Cheese. So, I did what any traditional counter-culture foodie would and should do. Got one of the staff to check inventory for provolone. He found the stock and I put what I needed for the next 3 or 4 weeks into the shopping cart.

After he left, I pulled the green dot off the Swiss rack and stuck it onto the provolone hanger. Next visit should be interesting.

Aside from my counter-culture chuckles? Wal-Mart management knows damned well why their inventory fulfillment at the retail level sucks. It’s the inevitable result of laying off 20% of their employees to keep profits at a level acceptable to investors. There are not sufficient human-being-hours on the clock to do all the work required. 🙂

UPDATE: It’s been two months since I shifted that green dot from Swiss to Provolone. So, we’ve been back to the store twice. The first return visit I noticed a new green dot had been returned to prominence at the Swiss cheese – but, no one had disturbed the green dot I’d moved to Provolone. The latter was right up to stock and I bought four packages to carry me through the next month.

Today, our monthly visit found the green dot still in place where originally placed; but, since stocking Provolone also became a green dot priority, purchases had risen sufficiently that the store has doubled the quantity on display. I bought four packages for the next month. 🙂

Scotland Yard preps criminal inquiry over diplomat conspiring with Cayman Islands tax haven

Britain’s former top diplomat on the Cayman Islands should face a criminal inquiry for allegedly lying to police investigating corruption in the notorious tax haven, a Scotland Yard review has concluded.

Former governor Stuart Jack has been cited for possible attempts to pervert the course of justice over a Watergate-style break-in at a newspaper office on the islands, according to documents seen by The Independent on Sunday.

In the latest twist of a tortuous dispute played out under the island’s tropical blue skies and courtrooms thousands of miles apart, the Metropolitan Police says there are sufficient grounds for an investigation into Mr Jack and two other senior officials. The head of a police team sent in 2007 to investigate the allegations accuses them of misleading him and effectively scuppering his inquiry, according to the letters.

The claims against the three, which Mr Jack strongly denies, amount to possible “misconduct in public office, attempting to pervert the course of justice and possibly wasting police time”, according to a letter from the Yard’s Commander Allan Gibson to the island’s current governor, Duncan Taylor. “It is my view the allegations are serious and contain sufficient detail to warrant a criminal investigation,” he said.

The letter – copied to Simon Fraser, the head of the Diplomatic Service – poses awkward questions for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO): any inquiry is likely to inflame a long-running controversy and embarrass senior diplomats, the Cayman authorities – and the Met. If it does nothing, it faces accusations of hypocrisy after David Cameron last week called on the Cayman Islands and other British Overseas Territories to show greater transparency in their tax affairs.

The FCO is already fighting in the courts to block release of a document that could blow the lid off its attempts to avoid blame for the original bungled police inquiry. It began as a leaks investigation and ended as a multimillion-pound inquiry into alleged police wrong-doing. FCO officials have declined to release an inquiry report because its “disclosure could lead to a loss of confidence within the international community which could impact negatively on the Cayman Islands’ reputation and, more directly, on its financial services industry”…

Today, the Caymans is one of the world’s biggest offshore trading centres, worth billions of pounds, based on zero taxation and banking secrecy. It comes second only behind Switzerland in the Tax Justice Network’s financial secrecy index. Enron, the failed US energy giant, used hundreds of Cayman-registered subsidiaries to keep billions off its balance sheets…

Although Scotland Yard has called for an inquiry, it said it could not carry it out because it was “conflicted” owing to its former officers’ initial involvement. It indicated a non-British force should be brought in.

We could loan y’all investigators from the IRS. They have loads of experience ranging from leaks to tax avoidance. Of course – most of that experience is designed to aid tax avoiders not prosecute them.

We might accidentally arrest a candidate for president.

Tainted injections from Tennessee compounding pharmacy

Federal and state health officials are warning health care providers against using anti-inflammatory steroid injections from Main Street Family Pharmacy in Newbern, Tennessee after seven patients developed abscesses following treatment with the substance.

…the compounding pharmacy has been placed on probation and voluntarily recalled the steroid – preservative free methylprednisolone acetate (80 mg/mL) or MPA – in at least 11 states. The move comes after five patients in Illinois and two more in North Carolina developed abscesses following injection.

The Tennessee Department of Health, the US Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are all investigating Main Street Family Pharmacy, and state health officials report that the facility is “currently on probation” following a recent inspection, Martinez said. Authorities told CNN that no cases of meningitis or other life-threatening infections had been reported…

All five of the Illinois patients that developed abscesses received their MPA injections at the Logan Primary Care clinic in Herrin between January 3 and February 21, health officials told CNN. The two North Carolina patients reportedly received their injections at a clinic in Greenville, and Illinois authorities added that one of those cases “indicates a fungal infection as the cause of an abscess…”

In addition to Illinois and Carolina, the Tennessee compounding pharmacy distributed the MPA injections to Alabama, Arkansas, California, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, and South Carolina. The FDA is asking health care workers in medical professionals in those states to “report adverse events or quality problems experienced with the use of any Main Street products.”

Just in case you weren’t nervous enough about getting shots.