Friday, December 30, 2011

Canada's Economic Growth


Welcome to the Collaborative Revolution!

Canada has implemented a number of pro-growth policies and has demonstrated a willingness to develop its energy resources.  As a result the Canadian economy is growing at a brisk pace.  Any chance of the US moving in that direction?

Canada, whose solid growth is the product of tax cuts, fiscal discipline, free trade, and energy development. That's made Canada a roaring puma nation, while its supposedly more powerful southern neighbor stands on the outside looking in.
Canada Soars


James L. Salmon, Esq.
Collaborative Construction
300 Pike Street
Cincinnati, Ohio 45202
Office 513-721-5672
Fax 513-562-4388
Cell 512-630-4446
JamesLSalmon@gmailcom
Collaborative Construction Website
Sustainable Land Development International

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Quality Control Manager Convicted for Defective Materials

Welcome to the Collaborative Revolution!

The article excerpted and linked below provides a cautionary tale to those of us in the BUILT industry.  With BIM emerging as the new standard of care in the industry cases like this will be easier to prove, though hopefully less common.  Transparency is the best policy and sunlight is the best disinfectant.  Clearly there should have been more here.  The man was convicted of a felony, fined $131K and sentenced to a year of home detention.  Ouch.

Rivas had been the director of quality control for Pennsylvania-based Frederick Precast Concrete, Inc., which produced precast concrete drainage structures for building projects such as the Wilson Bridge project and Interstate 70 near Baltimore.But the materials failed to conform to state-approved specifications, according to a federal investigation. Some structures contained the wrong amounts and types of steel rebar, while others had unapproved wire mesh as the foundation for the concrete instead of stronger steel rebar.
Read more at the Washington Examiner: http://washingtonexaminer.com/local/dc/2011/12/man-fined-131k-subpar-concrete-wilson-bridge/2038796#ixzz1hq65MXje

James L. Salmon, Esq.
Collaborative Construction
300 Pike Street
Cincinnati, Ohio 45202
Office 513-721-5672
Fax 513-562-4388
Cell 512-630-4446
JamesLSalmon@gmailcom
Collaborative Construction Website
Sustainable Land Development International

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Crony Socialism



Welcome to the Collaborative Revolution!

the Obama administration's green technology program has been, in the words of my teenage daughters, an epic fail.  Its the Crony Socialism cooked into the program that bothers me the most.  The Washington Post article excerpted and linked below is simply devastating.  Especially coming from the Post, a paper that typically publishes DNC talking points.

Meant to create jobs and cut reliance on foreign oil, Obama’s green-technology program was infused with politics at every level, The Washington Post found in an analysis of thousands of memos, company records and internal ­e-mails. Political considerations were raised repeatedly by company investors, Energy Department bureaucrats and White House officials.


Solyndra: Politics infused Obama Energy Programs

Nothing good happens for the for average American when Big Government, Big Business and Big Labor crawl in bed together.

James L. Salmon, Esq.
Collaborative Construction
300 Pike Street
Cincinnati, Ohio 45202
Office 513-721-5672
Fax 513-562-4388
Cell 512-630-4446
JamesLSalmon@gmailcom
Collaborative Construction Website
Sustainable Land Development International

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Another energy article

Welcome to the Collaborative Revolution!

We've got to start thinking in terms of bridging the gap between renewable energy resources - i.e. those not ready for prime time - and fossil fuels.  Affordable energy is the key to economic success.  We have enormous resources in North America and we need to leverage them.

The nonprofit Institute for Energy Research says there are more than 1.7 trillion barrels of recoverable oil in North America, compared with Saudi Arabia's 260 billion barrels.



"This is more than the world has used since the first oil well was drilled over 150 years ago," says the institute's report, North American Energy Inventory. U.S. reserves alone could provide the domestic need of 7 billion barrels a year for about 250 years.

Read the whole thing.

Energy Crisis Created by Government



James L. Salmon, Esq.
Collaborative Construction
300 Pike Street
Cincinnati, Ohio 45202
Office 513-721-5672
Fax 513-562-4388
Cell 512-630-4446
JamesLSalmon@gmailcom
Collaborative Construction Website
Sustainable Land Development International

Monday, December 12, 2011

Stimulus Failure


Welcome to the Collaborative Revolution!

The government does not and cannot "create jobs"  Many friends and colleagues were excited about the stimulus program and argued the influx of government monies would stimulate the construction industry.  I argued it would not and the money would be wasted.  The short video linked below highluights a few of the sitmulus failures that occured in Silver Springs, Maryland.  The tragedy is the flaws associated with disbursement of stimulus funds in Silver Springs manifested themselves every where stimulus funds were disbursed.

Again, the governement does not create jobs.  The govvernment needs to get out of the way. 



Jobs are created when demand for products or services, offered at competitive market prices consumers want to pay, exceeds the capacity of providers of such products or services and those providers are forced to hire new workers to produce and or deliver products or services demanded by willing consumers.

The Leviathian that is the federal government, and the large corporate parasites attached to it, expand to consume/waste available resources.  The stimulus, all all the other wasteful government spending on trillion dollar +  budgets, has been wasted.

Economic success occurs when we have a bigger pie not when we distribute smaller slices of a smaller pie.  Government policies that free job creators to make more, better and bigger pies means more success for all.

IPD, BIM and lean business processes provide mechanisms whereby BUILT industry professionals can plan, design, construct, operate and maintain facilities of higher quality at lower prices more quickly than ever.  The natrual consequence of increased efficiency and productivity is the ability to build more facilities and supporting infrastructure more quickly.  In other words, IPD, BIM and lean processes arm users with the ability to create bigger pies more often at better prices.

In boom times the amount of money to be made is constrained, in large part, by limited resources, both physical and human.   Entities that want to make more money when the economy comes back, and it will come back, should learn more about IPD, BIM and lean business processes now so that those innovative tools can be used to leverage finite resources more effectively during the next boom.  Don't sit on the sidelines, stand with your nose in the federal trough or wait for others to drop scraps from a government funding trough.  Prepare to compete.

Below is a sampling of a few things the stimulus bill funded:

• $2 billion earmark to re-start FutureGen, a near-zero emissions coal power plant in Illinois that the Dept. of Energy defunded last year because the project was inefficient.

Deemed ‘prohibitively expensive’ by the Washington Post and opposed by scientists at MIT
• A $246 million tax break for Hollywood movie producers to buy motion picture film(like Michael Moore).
Hollywood should really pay its own way, don't you think?
• $650 million for the digital television (DTV) converter box coupon program
Boxes for those t.v’.s with “rabbit ears” that receive “free t.v.”

• $88 million for the Coast Guard to design a new polar icebreaker (arctic ship)

Should this be paid for in a defense budget?  And is this one of those ships that will run on $16 per gallon bio diesel?
• $448 million for constructing the Dept. of Homeland Security headquarters

What did I say about the government expanding to consuming available resources?  We need to be eliminating government agencies NOT creating new ones!

• $248 million for furniture at the new Dept. of Homeland Security headquarters
Why spend MORE than 1/2 as much on furniture as the building costs?  Arrrgggh.

• $600 million to buy hybrid vehicles for federal employees

The VAST majority of the 15,000 or so Chevy Volts sold by Government Motors were purchased by either the federal governement or GE - a branch / quasi private arem of the federal governement like Fannie & Freddie/
• $400 million for the CDC to screen and prevent STD’s
Can we get a break down on that?   Geez.  Does it really cost $400 million to say, " Hey, stupdi, use a condom."  If you don't want an STD don’t have bareback sex.

• $1.4 billion for a rural waste disposal programs

That's a lot o money for burn barrels and dumping in caliche pits.

• $150 million for Smithsonian museum facilities

How many jobs did THAT create?
• $1 billion for the 2010 Census, which has a projected cost overrun of $3 billion

The "projected cost overrun" was a lowball estimate.  This is an example of your federal government at work for you.... on YOUR DIME!
• $75 million for “smoking cessation activities”

WTF?  Again, where are the jobs?

• $200 million for public computer centers at community colleges

A laudable project.  What were the cost overurns on THAT program?

• $75 million for salaries of employees at the FBI

WTF?  Did the FBI leave that line item out of the budget this year?
• $25 million for tribal alcohol and substance abuse reduction
Sad sad situations on the reservations.  But is this REALLY what the stimulus was intended to fund?
• $10 million to inspect canals in urban areas

OK.  Can we get an audited report?  Did we capture the data authoritatively?  Is it in digital form? Can it be re-used?

• $6 billion to turn federal buildings into “green” buildings

IPD, BIM and lean processes would work better and cost less.

• $500 million for state and local fire stations

Can you say UNION PAYBACK?

• $650 million for wildland fire management on Forest Service lands

Again, who forgot to submit their annual budget to congress?  Oh, that's right the demcoractic controlled Senates hasn't passed a budget in over 2 YEARS!!!
• $1.2 billion for “youth activities,” including youth summer job programs

What does the audit trail say about how this money was spent?  I smell graft and corruption.
• $88 million for renovating the headquarters of the Public Health Service

Another line item left out of another budget.

• $412 million for CDC buildings and property

Same

• $160 million for “paid volunteers” at the Corporation for National and Community Service

Can you say ACORN and SEIU?
• $5.5 million for “energy efficiency initiatives” at the VA “National Cemetery Administration”

Shouldn't "energy efficiency initiatives" REDUCE COSTS?

• $850 million for Amtrak

Isn't Amtrack supposed make its own money?  Like the US Post Office?  lol

• $100 million for reducing the hazard of lead-based paint

Can we see the audit trail?  Jobs created?

• $75M to construct a new “security training” facility for State Dept Security officers

Were they NOT being trainied in the old one?  But dad, DHS got a new building AND new furniture!
• $110 million to the Farm Service Agency to upgrade computer systems

Another line item left out of the last FARM SUBSIDY BILL.  Geez

• $200 million in funding for the lease of alternative energy vehicles for use on military installations.

Another false market for the Chevy Volt?  This is what happens when the federal government and a union own a failed American car company; Governement Motors.
• State Medicaid Bailout: $87.7 billion Through 3 different mechanisms, the bill would provide additional federal funds to state Medicaid programs over the next 3 years.

Was this evenly distributed among the 50 states - or the 57 Obama visited while campaigning - or did the lions share of this graft go to Illinois, New York and California?  Were responsible states with balanced budgets screwed?

Social engineering efforts incuded in this “Stimulus” Bill:
• Eliminates fees on loans from the Small Business Administration, thus pushing private capital toward unproductive businesses and away from productive businesses

• Increases the definition of “youth” for certain summer job programs from age 21 to age 24.

• $160 million to the Job Corps program at the Dept. of Labor, but not for job programs – rather, to construct, alter or repair buildings.

• Requires a government study on the impact of minimum wage laws on the Northern Mariana Islands and American Samoa. (Where Nancy Pelosi's husbands Tuna company is EXEMPTED)
• $79 billion State Fiscal Stabilization (slush) Fund to bailout the States by providing billions of dollars for “education” costs of any kind.  (Another ACORN / UNION payoff)
• $47.843 billion is appropriated for a variety of energy programs that are primarily focused on renewable energy development and energy conservation/efficiency. Not one dollar is appropriated to make fossil fuels more affordable in the near future. More than $6 billion of these funds go to environmental clean ups.

(Solyndra, Bright Source, Lightsquared and several other examples of Crony Socialism were funded out of this pot.  The adminstration says these programs "created" 3,500 jobs.  How many did it COST?)

• Increases eligibility for “weatherization” assistance to households 200 percent above the poverty level.

• The “Making Work Pay” credit of $500 to every individual making less than $75,000 (or $1000 to couples making $150,000 or less) would pay people whether they are productive or not – akin to welfare.
• The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP – food stamps) would temporarily suspend the 3-month limit for non-working adults to receive SNAP benefits, thus giving incentives not to find a job.

• Installs government as the creator of broadband deployment regardless of whether the specific local/regional market can sustain it.

• Funds new “green jobs” job-training program without eliminating inefficient job-training programs or consolidating duplicative job-training programs.
• $890 million to the Social Security Administration without any provisions to reduce improper payments, or any plan to increase solvency of the trust fund.
• Nothing requires the products that are purchased with these funds be here in America. Lithium ion batteries, for instance, are primarily made in Asia.

Please tell me we will not repeat this miserable failure again.


James L. Salmon, Esq.
Collaborative Construction
300 Pike Street
Cincinnati, Ohio 45202
Office 513-721-5672
Fax 513-562-4388
Cell 512-630-4446
JamesLSalmon@gmailcom
Collaborative Construction Website
Sustainable Land Development International

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Flipping the Classroom


Welcome to the Collaborative Revolution!

I've linked to Khan Academy materials in the past.  Below is a link a Vimeo video of Salman Khan speaking at an education conference.  Below that I've linked to a substantive article detailing the work the Khan Academy is doing on the educational front. 


Salman Khan remarks from the Future of State Universities Conference from Academic Partnerships on Vimeo.


The Problem Solvers

I'm posting the link for readers of the blog as I think the combined use of online webinars - recorded for use by keystakeholders at their leisure - followed by collaborative workshops where real-life teams come together to apply the lessons learned via the online materials represents a viable model for delivering knowledge of innovative new business processes - like IPD, BIM and lean solutions - that will be of real value in the accreditation arena in the near future. 

Khan's effort to "flip the classroom" matches what Collaborative Construction does via its webinars and live collaborative workshops.  Recorded webinars represent the practice and review that takes place outside the classroom in an interactive online environment while the collaborative workshops represent the intensely collaborative class time facilitated by Khan's online learning center which provides the teacher with valuable data regarding each student's progress.

The Khan Acadamy team has focused on capturing the learner's progress up the learning curve - however slow, swift, steady or uneven it might be - and providing insightful analysis to teachers based on that data.  There is no reason an accreditation scheme at the professional level could not provide similar levels of feedback to participants, employers, clients, partners and others.


James L. Salmon, Esq.
Collaborative Construction
300 Pike Street
Cincinnati, Ohio 45202
Office 513-721-5672
Fax 513-562-4388
Cell 512-630-4446
JamesLSalmon@gmailcom
Collaborative Construction Website
Sustainable Land Development International