As I mentioned, I do almost all of my writing on public transportation so I'm a little sensitive to people who like nothing more than spending their commute checking out my half written Cracked columns or Hate By Numbers edits. But this grievance applies equally to newspaper snoopers and novel peepers too. Is it the worst thing in the world? No. Can you casually take a moment to glance at your neighbor's stuff just out of curiosity? Sure. Can you spend 50% of the ride creeping my screen while pretending you're not? Not without me calling you a dbag. Yes you. The dude next to me wearing too much cologne and who got on the train two stops ago. Yes, you with the Kenneth Cole shoes and Navy blue suit. And still. Still you're pretending you're not reading this? OK dude. Dude who is probably taking a train into the city solely for the purposes of buying a small girl from Thailand. Yeah, that's right. Now look away. Good. I'm sorry. I just don't want any passenger sitting next to me checking out my stuff. I can hear your exclamations now. (Yes, all the Cracked columnists can hear your exclamations. Didn't you know that? Oh, and all of us have bones made of adamantium except Christina, but she can fly.) "But Gladstone," you exclaim. "There are no 'in' doors or 'out' doors on subways and buses! Just one door." But I have to disagree with you. There is certainly an 'in' and an 'out' door. When the doors open up and I'm trying to get out, then it's an "out" door. When I'm gone, then it becomes an "in" door. That shouldn't be so hard to grasp. I mean, think about your rectum. Oh, you already were? Cool. Anyway, you only have one anus but which way things are flowing can be kind of important, right? You wouldn't try to wipe yourself in the middle of excreting, would you? And yet some of these human toilet paper passengers try to get inside when my fellow commuters and I are just trying to exit. Yeah, I hear you exclaiming again. I just created a metaphor likening myself to feces. Yeah, well, y'know, shut up. Look, I don't want to hear it. Just because I want to be transported in a carriage by an Asian cartoon in a triangle shaped bamboo hat does not mean that I'm asking to be anally penetrated against my will. I mean, with all the luxuries offered by our 21st century world have we really become so immune to these indignities? Just because we enjoy the ease and convenience of another human being dragging us to our destination somehow non consensual sodomy is back on the table? I don't think so. And what's with you rickshaw drivers anyway? I would think that after a backbreaking day of transporting human cargo through busy city streets, you'd be too exhausted to even think of sexually violating your passengers. Is it just me? I've had it. I swear. One more time and I'm totally taking the bus. 378037 006 Air Jordan XI Gamma Blue Black Gamma Blue Varsity Maize ,Nike Air Foamposite One Knicks Nike Air Foamposite Pro 543390 043 Air Jordan 6 Retro Turbo Green Gs Black Volt Ice Turbo Green Black 136064 120 Jordan 3 Fire Red Retro 2013 Women Size Women Size 580521 108 Air Jordan 11 Low GS Pink Snakeskin Air Jordan 7 Retro Bordeaux 2011 653996 146 Nike KD 7 USA Air Jordan 14 Low Light Graphite Air Jordan Spizike Challenge Red Gluttony: Everything is a 1 Priority If done correctly, Quality Management represents a major change initiative for an organization. As in any change initiative, the leadership team's time and actions are integral to its successful implementation. They provide the focus and catalyst required for success. If Quality Management is not assessed by the employees as a leadership team priority, nothing of significance will happen. Other priorities like increasing yields, reducing cycle time, reducing costs, reducing inventory, etc., will compete for their time. People might attend the quality education classes. They may begrudgingly attend improvement meetings. But no measurable business results will occur since their focus at all other times of their day will be on other issues. Many leadership teams have never spent sufficient time to consciously rank their priorities; to achieve consensus at a gut level. Therefore, each leader will send different messages and different levels of intensity regarding priorities to the rest of the organization. This leaves the rest of the organization to decide where to spend their time based upon their perceptions of what's important. How do they decide what's most important to the leadership team? They watch where the leaders spend their visible time and where reporting is required. In other words, under what conditions do your people see you most frequently? What do they have to report activity on regularly? In most organizations, the answer to these two questions is not "quality improvement." So the leadership team lusts after results in quality improvement without preparing the ground from which it must spring, and without their personal nurturing and care. Instead, the quality management initiative should be seen as the umbrella under which all improvement activities are conducted. There should be no doubt in anyone's mind that quality improvement is the number one priority. All other activities are measurable goals, or milestones, toward improving quality. Reducing inventory by 25% is a goal. Reducing costs by 10% is a goal. Most company leaders are anxious for immediate results. They see the potential of a quality initiative but few see the journey ahead for the long, arduous task it will be. They see where other organizations like Motorola are producing outstanding quality results. They visit companies like Motorola to learn their secrets. They search for the "silver bullet" or a series of "tips and techniques" to make their process easier. Their biggest mistake is wanting Motorola's current results without traveling the ten year journey that Motorola had to travel. Without these elements in place, the results from the quality initiative don't materialize. And, if management hasn't learned a fundamental concept of quality management, when the results don't materialize, the people are blamed. Too many managers, who have not internalized a basic concept of quality management that "the work processes are to blame for problems, not people," operate with the mindset that people are the reason quality is lacking in products and services. Therefore, a lack of progress toward improvement is viewed as a direct result of failure on the part of people to do what must be done. This assumption leads to punishing people. Then, because of the resultant punishments, people tend to hide problems from management or blame other people or departments for the problems. A business improvement effort, like Total Quality Management, requires the conscious designing and molding of a company culture where people freely share problems and where leaders have a commitment to resolving them. This can only happen when people are convinced that problems will be attacked, not the messengers. The attitudes and actions of employees are a direct result of direct management action or a lack of action at appropriate times. When a manager fails to see their direct impact upon the employees of the business, everyone else's employees look more highly motivated and better educated. Envy and Excuses: But, We're Different The leadership team always believes they are committed to the quality improvement process. On the other hand, they also believe they are unique. Based upon this assumption, they envy the results of other organizations that they perceive to be "easier to run." They lament the time it will take them to accomplish results since their business is so much more complex than others who have traveled the quality improvement journey. They envy others but are incapable of seeing the efforts taken by others to achieve results. Bottom line, not all leadership teams have the commitment they think they have when faced with the challenges of quality improvement. They start to make excuses for the lack of results. These excuses lead to a downward death spiral for the quality management process. Quality improvements are the direct result of the level of perceived management commitment to the initiative. Dramatic improvements are a direct result of articulated bold goals and the active participation by the company's leaders. Leadership teams which excel at leading improvements don't make excuses they make plans. They monitor progress and results. They are actively involved in achieving results. They celebrate success. They see quality as an investment, not an expense. Many manufacturing companies make million dollar decisions regarding the acquisition of new equipment, but wouldn't consider spending the equivalent money on their only renewable asset: the people. They look at the initial expenditure for quality training as an expense where little return is expected. The "first cost" attitude leads them to make decisions which handicap the ability to make improvements. They turn over the development of training materials to internal people who have very little practical experience in creating change or improvements within an organization. Or, they might steal materials from consulting firms who have an established methodology for success. They might even train with a consultant and "save" money by not using support during the implementation phase of quality improvement. What is needed for success is a "return on investment" attitude. Return can be quantified for a quality improvement process. Take a look at the organization today. How much money is being spent in returns, rework, scrap, customer complaints, credit memos, customer incentives, duplicate work, problem solving, fire fighting, on site service, repairs, lost business, union disputes, absenteeism, overtime, etc.? These all represent the potential return on the quality investment. With this figure in mind, better decisions can be made regarding launching and sustaining a quality improvement process as an investment in the future health of the organization. However, many organizations invest heavily in quality improvement activities or consultants and receive little result in return. Those organizations have leaders who "talk a good game" of quality improvement, but take little personal action to realize the return on investment. Many quality initiatives begin with a big bang! The leader of the company announces a commitment to quality improvement. They unveil a quality policy and plaster it on every company wall, business card and paycheck stub. They announce a Quality Director or similar position. They fund a quality education effort. Then, it's business as usual. Employees have seen this leadership dance before. They eat the free donuts and listen half heartedly to the speeches of commitment. Then, they return to their jobs. What happens almost immediately? Because the plant has just spent an hour or two in the quality kick off meeting, production is behind schedule. Speed soon becomes the single most important variable of the employee's job, quality be damned. Bottom line, if it's perceived to be important in an organization, it gets done. If quality is only a line in an executive speech and not the watchword for the leader's every action and deed, it won't happen. More money wasted. More people jaded to new ideas. And, a harder time next time to convince people of the leadership's commitment to anything. What's needed is expressed best by Don Godshall, regional sales manager for THARCO, a packaging solutions company, when he says, "Without leadership we would have gone nowhere. Without people saying 'you will attend the meetings,' 'it is a priority,' 'you will take the time,' 'why isn't this being done?' 'where is the action request?' if that hadn't happened on an ongoing basis from the president, vice president and quality coordinator, this thing [quality improvement process] would have died. I don't doubt that for a second." 378037 006 Air Jordan XI Gamma Blue Black Gamma Blue Varsity Maize,(NYSE:SKX) sports a line of trendy footwear (oxfords, boots, sneakers, sandals, and semi dressy shoes) geared toward 12 to 24 year olds. Skechers (street slang for "can't stand still") are sold through department and specialty stores, as well as more than 100 company owned stores (mostly outlets) and its Web site. Its manufacturing is outsourced primarily to Chinese contractors. Robert Greenberg and his family control about 90% of Skechers' voting power. In recent years Skechers has entered into dozens of licensing agreements for men's, women's, and children's apparel. If you bought this stock in 2003, when it sold for $5.20 a share, you would have made almost 700% on that investment. Now with the stock trading at an all time high, investors have to wonder if this is one stock that hasn't reached its limit for a while. The first reason being valuation. The Price to Earnings ratio [P/E] is at an all time high of 26. The average annual p/e ratio has been between 8.5 and 21. When a p/e ratio starts to push upper limits, it means investors are expecting even faster growth from the company. While there are many new products in SKX's portfolio, they'll all have to kick it up a notch to fulfill investors' expectations. Earnings have been doing very well. Hence the stock doing very well. Coming from a deficit of 31 cents a share in 2003, the company earned 59 cents a share in 2004, $1.06 in 2005, expected to finish 2006 with $1.57 and in 2007 show $1.80. Revenues are ramping as well, having gone from $835 million in 2003 to a current run rate of $1.4 billion for 2007. The company recently raised guidance for 2007. Estimates are for sales to have increased by 34% in the fourth quarter of 2006 and per share earnings doubling from the same period last year. Order backlog was up 29% at the end of 2006. According to recent sales results, December was a great month, followed by a January that didn't show much decrease in revenues. Better advertising and new products from non Skechers brands account for much of that improvement, brands such as Michelle K, 310 Motoring, Mark Nason, Rhino Red, Unltd. by Mark Ecko and the new line Zoo York. These shoes probably sold more than $100 million of rubber, leather and canvas in 2006, doubling 2005 sales. Coming up is a new line of shoes for AVIREX, a division of Mark Ecko Enterprises. Look for it this spring. The company is searching abroad for more growth. International sales, at the wholesale level, were only 16% of total revenues in 2006, about the same as 2005. It's already selling Skechers directly to retailers in Japan, Western Europe, Canada and through distributors everywhere else. So the pipeline has been built, now SKX has to fill it with new brands. A few other numbers: Return on Equity is a healthy 13%. All insiders own 85.1% of class B stock (voting stock) and 37.5% of the class A stock. Debt is only 20% of capital. Current assets are double current liabilities. Look for sales to grow by 7% a year over the next 5 years while earnings to improve by 31% a year, on average, in the same time period. It's that last number that have investors bidding up the stock. The efficiency potential that Skechers has, when sales increase only slightly while profits jump ahead, is what investing dreams are made of. Investors are always looking for companies that are expanding internally while growing earnings much faster than sales. SKX seems to be one of those. But this is a trendy market. What's hot today isn't so tomorrow. Check out Tommy Hilfiger for a recent victim. For the moment, Skechers is hot.
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We want to see him. We'd love to get that speed on the field if we could. It's rare to find a linebacker that runs that fast, Carroll said. . But he's got to do it. He's got a long way to go before he can take that over.Part of that learning curve will be becoming comfortable with calling defenses on the field. While at Utah State, defensive calls came from the coaching staff on the sideline instead of through a player on the field. Wagner hasn't called defenses since he was in high school. Wright at strongside linebacker. Wright played both middle and outside for Seattle last season.We're not going to burden (Wagner) with that and we'll let that be something that is staged in later, Carroll said. is really good at it so we'll let him do it.Wagner knows the coaching staff is putting a lot on his shoulders. It's a burden he's happy to carry.I love the pressure. I'm just going to do whatever I can to start. I know I've got a lot to learn, but I'm going to take my time, Wagner said.Wagner was unable to attend the NFL combine when he came down with pneumonia just two days before he was set to leave for Indianapolis.But he managed to make a mark with scouts at his pro day workout instead. Wagner ran a sub 4.5 40 yard dash, recorded a 39.5 inch vertical leap and an 11 foot broad jump.His athleticism would be a welcome addition for Carroll in the middle of the Seahawks defense if he can take hold of the spot.It comes down to can he run, can he hit, can he fit into our profile and what we do best here. That's absolute, linebackers coach Ken Norton Jr. said. He certainly looks the part, acts the part and he works the part and just a matter of handling all the installation as we go on day by day.Unlike a season ago, Wagner will have that time to acclimate over a full offseason. The rookies get to start working out with the veterans now that rookie camp is over and Wagner will get the chance to show what he can do.A lot of people get here and then in two years you never hear from them, so I'm trying to stay here for a while and be a contributor to this team, Wagner said.Notes: Pete Carroll says QB Russell Wilson will compete for the starting job with Matt Flynn and Tarvaris Jackson. He's going to be in the competition. He's shown us enough. He's in the competition, Carroll said. . All 10 draft picks have signed as fourth round picks DT Jaye Howard and RB Robert Turbin signed over the weekend. . Carroll singled out G Rishaw Johnson and CB Donny Lisowski as players that stood out during minicamp.
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