Rittenhouse Found (Appropriately) Not Guilty but Who Was?

I have not followed the Rittenhouse case as closely as many, but I’m old – we’ve been there before. Remember the 70’s, the 80’s?  Last year a hundred thousand Americans died of overdoses; theft is not prosecuted in some cities.  Did we think our lives would be peaceful?  Did we then, as we pulled out some of the pillars that held the roof over our society, protecting and ordering it?  Some of those pillars were being reconstructed, but the last few years have seen their destruction, again and more thoroughly.

Rittenhouse, certainly out of self-defense, killed, but these deaths are not just the result of the actions of the men, apparently unhinged and certainly violent and predatory from long before Blake was shot, that attacked him.  The fault also lies in those in charge, who have little humility in taking over our lives from cradle to grave, but shrug off their first responsibility – to nurture an ordered society, where the rights of citizens are protected and civility reigns.  They seem to want to take our guns but they certainly don’t want to protect us.  Our leaders have lost a sense of the priorities outlined in our unique, beautiful, and profound Constitution.  However, it codifies and organizes responsibilities long seen as a government’s duty:  to protect citizens from threats external (the federal) and internal (the state and city). They found a sensible format for fulfilling those duties – one with checks and balances.  Our tradition, of course, has always included a healthy bit of personal responsibility, of self-protection.  Rittenhouse is in that tradition.  Those who did not do their duty are in no position to scoff at someone who tries to protect the home town of his father and grandmother.

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Supply Chain and LTL

LTL means “less than load”. For those not in the know, a “load” means a full truck. Full trucks in the USA can be those huge 53 footers, or something smaller.

In industrial distribution for most products, we utilize LTL for the majority of our inventory. It’s a serious disaster right now.

I have been carping for the better part of a couple years about the issue. As with most things, there are several factors at play.

1) No new entries in the truck driving industry – we simply have a driver shortage, and have for a very long time. From what I am reading we are around eighty thousand short and the problem is only getting worse. All trades have this same issue. Kids growing up simply don’t want to do actual work, and would rather spend time making their money in front of screens or doing “soft labor” as I call it. Not that “soft labor” such as cutting hair or being an accountant are necessarily bad in and of themselves, mind you.

2) Nobody gives a f – this is harsh, but there it is. The work that is getting done, when it gets done in LTL is slow and sloppy. We have record amounts of damage and missing freight. It is absolutely maddening when you wait with these extended lead times for a specialized piece of equipment, and it finally arrives with a fork passed through the center.

3) I firmly believe that the cops, Teamsters and insurance companies have teamed up into a strange cabal to “slow roll” driverless vehicles. This is a bit of tinfoil had stuff I will admit but it is a theory I have had for a while. If we had driverless trucks a lot of these problems would be solved almost overnight, however there would be no speeding tickets to write, labor contracts to negotiate or premiums to collect. Well, virtually none anyways. This wouldn’t solve the issue of a lack of mechanics to service the vehicles, but that is grist for another post.

4) Lack of sense of urgency in government. As I have pounded the table on before, we need a “port team” or “transportation team” to get industry experts together, and start solving problems. Flying into LA and waving a magic wand over the ports, like has been done so far, is getting less than nothing done.

So the result is that we have this insane mess across the whole country. I have been trying to figure out ways to pick up freight that is within a reasonable range and trying other ideas such as even partnering with competitors or people outside of my industry to come up with a full truck to get a non stop delivery to the area.

A few anecdotal stories to end this rant.

I have a manufacturer that is 45 minutes from one of my stores. They sent out five pallets of stuff to me last Friday and it still isn’t here. The reason is that the trucking company has it parked at some sort of re-sorting facility as they lack drivers and need to consolidate their shipments. Meanwhile, people are getting cold.

This is an interesting article I spied the other day about a local chocolatier waiting forever for a skid of chocolate. I would bet a large amount of their extended lead time is transportation. It affects everything.

Around the Next Corner

What lurks in hiding for us there? Nothing good, and that is the general feeling one gets from the ripples and small currents in the wide ocean of the blogosphere. I’ve been paddling in that ocean since … 2002, when I gave up on Slate as an original aggregator news site shortly after 9-11, because the communities which gathered in the various comments sections just got too angry and irrational for words. Something let me to Instapundit, and through his links to the original incarnation of Sgt. Stryker’s Daily Brief. I became a contributor when the original Stryker appealed for other contributors and have been paddling away at the margins of the digital information ocean ever since. Back in the pre-internet day, I had subscriptions to all kinds of magazines. As a military public relations professional, I reasoned that I should know when and from which direction the next political-military-social sh*t-storm would arrive. Tracking blogs and digital media serves the same purpose for me that print media once did.

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Fixing Something

David Foster put up a post linking a site that tracks global ocean freight (and other boats). The ensuing comments were interesting and far ranging. I had started to type this as a comment but it got too long.

The comments for the most part brought up issues with supply chain, a world I am intimately familiar with. We are struggling right now with a massive surplus of inventory at my industrial distribution business. While that sounds like a simple problem to fix (sell it down, duh) it isn’t that easy. Everyone in my industry is hoarding inventory right now – its the new model. Pre Covid, we had patterns that were as old as time. In Spring, we do “this”, in Summer we need to order “these” and so on. Of course manufacturers do the same, and up the supply chain.

With Covid, those patterns are completely blasted out into space, and rather than a nice sine wave looking thing for our inventory, we have severe spikes where we see nothing, or a years worth of product showing up at a time. We don’t dare cancel orders for fear of going to the back of the line. Companies are full now of more and more inept and incompetent people, and good information is very hard to find. When you find a person who is in the know, that in itself is a super valuable thing to have.

Back to the comments of David Foster’s post. Most of them dealt with a part of the supply chain. Last weeks super stupid pronouncements by the Biden administration proved how little thinking and forethought they have. The supply chain problem didn’t happen overnight and their solutions seem to portray that it will be fixed overnight, and we all laugh, of course. I saw something about opening the ports 24/7, having Walmart and Target do something and some more blah blah. Laughable. As if Mayor Pete knows the first thing about transportation. I digress a bit.

When faced with a big problem in my business, or my life for that matter, I break it down into parts and try to tackle the different parts to eventually solve the problem as a whole. You simply can’t take an issue like “Supply Chain”, and make a few pronouncements and make it all better. With an enormous, multi-faceted problem such as the one we are in right now, the solution needs to be comprehensive and flexible. We currently have none of the above and I expect more of that for the future.

Flashpoints

Much to the horror of progressive school boards, teachers and administrators everywhere, the parents of kids in public schools are becoming increasingly irate at various flavors of poison being mainlined into their kids: the imposition of Critical Race Theory – or whatever it is being called this week in order to deflect criticism – mask mandates and inappropriate sex education which amounts to the sexual grooming of K-12 students. Or what is even worse; schools tolerating, excusing, and covering up lawless behavior committed by students of the favored minority group o’ the month. The simple fact is that normal parents are practically guaranteed to go berserker on anyone or anything which threatens harm to their child. This seems to come as a surprise to school administrators.

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