Sometime in the nineteen seventies or eighties when I worked for a living, my job involved making cable ties. These devices are often referred to as Zip-ties. The difference between a cable tie and a zip tie is like that between a Mercedes and a Yugo, they both perform the same function but there is a world of difference between them.

One thing that fell into my realm was determining the root cause problem of cable ties that failed in a customer’s hands. I-was lucky if I had a single specimen returned, and it was a miracle if the customer could provide the QC number. The number traced the date of manufacture, the molding machine that made it, and the batch of material that we used. Unfortunately, 99.9% of the time that information was lost.

I spent a lot of time examining the broken sample under a high power microscope. After a number of years of performing this visual autopsy I learned a lot about failure analysis. In other words I got pretty good at recognizing failure modes. The majority of fails resulted from sharp corners that became stress risers in certain environmental conditions, namely a very dry atmosphere that would dry out the nylon material. Most of these mechanical defects could be fixed by softening the sharp edge of steel in the mold cavity that produced the stress riser.

Failure analysis didn’t always point at an edge or corner. Very often the fracture point was from inside the plastic itself. Very often the fracture plane pointed toward a pin-point, like the “eye of the tiger”. About once every hundred samples I detected a black spot tinier than a spec of dust much smaller than the period at the end of this sentence.

During this same time period there were news reports on the sighting of unidentified flying objects which we all called UFO’s. It was a natural to name this cable tie failure mode as a, get ready for it, “UMO” or “unidentified molded object.”

A few times I sent the broken sample to duPont for analysis using their electron beam microscope. They would send me photos which showed the pin-point spec looking like a planet in a galaxy. They couldn’t identify the spec either.

At the beginning, using UMO to describe this specific failure mode, I had to do a lot of explaining of what it meant. The search for this critter went on beyond my days at the company. It wasn’t until the powers to be decided to totally instrument our process that we began to actually identify the conditions that existed during the formation of a UMO.

I retired in 2003 and by that time everyone in the company used the UMO term daily. All of our nylon suppliers also used the term. It took thirty years for acronym to become recognized. If you Google UMO or unidentified molded object you will find nothing like the UMO in the molding sense, and probably never will either.

Just as I never really identified the UMO’s in my universe neither have the residents of the planet Earth come even close to understanding what a UFO is, but this month the USA shot down four of them.

Root Cause(s)

In a world gone awry I have stopped feeding my mind with non-stop cable news and internet news. Too much of what I see in the headlines is geared at trying to convince me that “a” is wrong and “b” is right. None of what they say is fact. Even I could write news blurbs based on my own fanciful ideas. The term coined by President Trump to describe this phenomenon is “fake news.” What really bothers me is when a particular fake news bit is parroted by untold numbers of reporters across the spectrum of broadcasters. They don’t even try to change the words to make their own version a little bit spicier, they just repeat the printed word laid before them. I once read that the lowest paid newscaster earns $140,000.00 a year. That means these yokels are being paid astronomical sums of money for being able to read.


This morning I scanned the headlines of Breitbart as I always do before I begin my day. Scanning headlines is all I need and that is where I stop. Everyone is blaming President Biden for the retreat from Afghanistan fiasco. The poor bastard owns it but he is not the root cause of the problem. It took me a lot of months of training in quality control to finally begin to understand the concept of root cause, and here is my take on it. The root cause of our current Afghanistan retreat is not Biden, it is the American people who voted this sick bastard into place. It goes deeper than just our votes, it goes into all the mentally retarded politicians who campaigned against Trump. Like the Never-Trumpers, and the RINO’s, the news agency’s, and then to all the Democrats who lust for power and who allow their consciences to over rule any immoral corrupt method of voting irregularity to make a win happen.

President Biden should not be blamed for this fiasco but we should empathize with him and his feeble mind. The world knew he was a poor candidate, he has a record of over forty years of no accomplishment in the Senate to back him up, yet we the people decided we hated Trump more than we disliked Joe’s weak record. I think I have to recall my comment about Biden being sick, and to place the sickness on the twisted mentality of the voters who put him in place.

Over sixty million voters voted against Biden, but more than that voted for him. That puts those people into the column in favor of the sick political philosophy pf socialism. That is right, over half of the population is a bunch of lazy-ass, stupid jerks who prefer sitting on their fat-asses drinking beer and feeding themselves non-stop greasy chips while watching mindless entertainment on TV, as opposed to earning an honorable living.

In the past week I’ve had to do a lot of driving. Most time when I stop I find a grubby looking person walking the white line holding a crudely made cardboard sign appealing for help. My mind goes nuts with replay of all the hiring signs I saw along the way. Why isn’t this person spending his energy applying for a job?

Unfortunately, I do not have an answer for this American dilemma, except to brainwash our kids while in school about the virtues of capitalism and the evils of socialism. The problem is that the socialists are winning the war of children’s minds, as they did the minds of their parents a generation earlier. Maybe I am all wrong about what the root cause is, perhaps I should shift the blame to the educational system that feeds socialism into the minds of our kids.

President Obama’s goal to fundamentally change the country is becoming a reality even though he never really defined what that phrase meant.

I wonder if there is any possibility of winning this battle when it is like a cancer that has metastasized to every organ in the body and I am asking a lowly country doctor to cure the patient.

I Feel For Toyota

During my fifty-three year career in manufacturing, I developed a flair for solving a problem. It is not easy.  In order to find the root cause you have to continue to ask why until people think you are nuts.  My last job was manufacturing a product that we made in the billions. The item is relatively simple in appearance, but it is highly functional. The product is a cable tie. The original purpose of the cable tie was to hold wires together.  Over the years, people have learned to find many applications for this unique item.

My team designed the product, designed and made the molds that produced the product, and set the quality requirements of the manufacturing process. Often we received a complaint. Usually, a customer told us the ties were breaking. He wanted us to fix the problem. Our sales staff immediately replaced his defective product. Most of the time, it was a single package.  My engineers always asked for samples of the failures and any unused samples from the package that the failure ties came from. The failed tie often contained clues to why it failed.  The unused samples gave us some product to test in our lab. If we were very lucky, the Quality Control number was still on the package. That number allowed us to trace the manufacturing process variables.

Usually, I received a handful of broken ties from the complaint. With those samples, it became my job to determine what caused the failure.  I will not bore you with the details of how I proceeded, but if I could not duplicate the problem in the lab, I was looking for a needle in a haystack. Many times, we shut down our highest producing mold until there was an answer.  Talk about pressure to do something.  I can only imagine what is going on within Toyota right now, but I have a good feeling for what it is. I feel for the engineers whose job it is to solve the problem.

Currently, I drive a 2005 Toyota Avalon. I have rehearsed my reaction to a runaway acceleration many times. I only hope that if it happens that I have enough time to react appropriately before I kill myself or someone else. I have dubbed my car the Death Star. At this writing, I am listening to the Senate questioning of the CEO of Toyota. The man, Akio Toyoda from Toyota, said their fix might not be the answer to the acceleration problem. That is a nice way of saying they still do not have a clue about what is causing the problem.

I also studied the quality process taught by US guru Joe Duran, and utilized by the Japanese car companies. In this program, Duran taught that it is cost effective to shut a line down when you find a problem, and leave it down until you fix the problem.  That is a hard concept to swallow. Most manufacturing companies do not buy into it. Mine often did, but the justification for shutting down a mold had to be great. In Toyota’s move to stop selling cars, and to shut down their factories until they fix the quality problem, they practice what they preach. They will come out as winners in the long term.

In the meantime, I bet there are at least a thousand engineers running like chickens with their heads cut off trying to duplicate the problem. As they analyze every aspect of the design, they will come up with ideas that are very probably the answer, and they will implement solutions. They may even stumble upon the root cause and re-create the problem. That is when I will believe they have solved the problem, and until then I drive the Death Star.

The Power of “Why”

The number of health care bills being presented for our benevolence is overwhelming.  A bunch of radical liberal lawyers elected to represent us are hiring major lobby groups to write legislation. The writers must get paid by the page because the bills get longer and longer. I can only imagine that the cost to us will escalate with each page.

Intelligent Design

It is obvious to me that there isn’t a single problem solver in the entire administration. They haven’t got a clue as to how to approach the solution to health care reform. I was faced with cost cutting situations many times on my job. We never approached the problem by inventing a new one. The first step is to define the problem. The next step is to analyze where your money is going. The next step is to find the root cause. Then, and only then, could we design improvements or alternatives.

None of this is easy. It takes a lot of diligent effort and focus to stay on track. So far, I have heard only two things that define the health care problem: 1. The cost is too high. 2. End of life costs account for too much of the budget.

I also hear many remarks telling me that the bills will cut waste and fraud to pay for the improvements. Have you ever heard of a single page in any of the bills that is dedicated to finding and cutting waste? If you find one, let me know the number of the bill and the page, I want to read it. 

Put me in charge of this problem and I will come up with true reform, not reinvention to dump the old and begin with a new mire of costs. First, I would form a team of the best Black Belt Engineers that I know. We would insist on accurate definition of the problem. Second, we would conduct a Pareto analysis of the money being spent on the entire healthcare system. This would include the costs spent by insurance companies as well as providers. Don’t get me wrong, this is not simple. Getting those numbers would be a monumental charge. They are necessary however, in order to effect true reform. Currently, all we have is the total cost. In order to know how to reform, we need a breakdown of cost by functions. What are the functions: Administration, hospital, medical staff, supplies, records, legal, insurance, drugs, etc. Not having the cost categories in front of me limits how many categories I can assign charges to. All of these costs would then be totaled and charted;  the highest cost to the lowest cost.  My guess is that there would be one category that would tower over all the others.  Once I had that chart in front of me, the work of analyzing “why” begins. The greatest opportunity lies in the single largest cost function. Another method  we use to analyze costs is the 80/20 rule; eighty percent of the good comes from twenty percent of the activity. My black belt team would then begin asking “why” we incur the costs.  

The power of “why” resides in repeated questioning. Ask why. Get an answer;  ask why that is the answer.  Get another answer, ask why again, etc. eventually, the answers are harder to get. Eventually, the root cause of a problem becomes more evident.  Once the root cause is defined a solution is easier to effect. Sometimes the root cause is never found, and then change is chancy. It is my opinion that most of the time, the root cause would be some government intervention in the form of a law written by some representative to cover some obscure problem one of his constituents had. Politicians are famous for introducing legislation that insures a problem will never occur again. Years later, we learn the consequences of the law as applied to the general population.

Recently, I had a personal experience with an end of life situation. In an earlier post, I wrote about my beloved Aunt Marie passing. The bill she incurred while dying was horrific. I can see how the administration is touting end of life as a high cost element of reform. Here is what I saw. Marie is ninety-four. She has a multitude of physical problems that have made her last few months really miserable. She covered herself with a living will, and specific end of life instructions.  While helping her go to bed one evening, the attendant at her nursing home notice she was bleeding from her colostomy.  A hundred years ago, she would have simply bled to death at home. In a nursing home, the staff cries uncle and calls 911; why?  They are not equiped to handle a situation such as Marie’s. Why? She had prepared them with current instructions on the kind of treatment she wanted to keep her alive, yet they couldn’t grant her that request. They had to pass the ball to an emergency room. 

The ER finds her bleeding and begins treatment  by giving her blood. The hospital asks the family if  she has a living will? The document printed on bright orange paper stands out in the chart sent along with her records from the nursing home. Does anyone read these things, do they care?  By this time, she was admitted and being given blood to extend her life. $$$$$.

I consults with my daughter and  several doctors.  We learn that any further procedure to learn the cause of her bleeding presents an extraordinary means, and a violation of her body for very little else but more pain and suffering.   Since I am her DPOA (durable power of attorney), I request she go into hospice. She was sent back to her home to die. She expired within five days. It is my belief that giving her blood only extended her life for a week. The cost was covered by Medicare and supplemental insurance. It is high, but not as high as it would have been had common sense not prevailed.

True health care reform is improving the system in place, not re-inventing the round wheel to  make it square. My approach to reform is a logical one. The approach , however, does not yield control of our lives  to the government. It rather, keeps our liberty and makes us responsible to fix the problem ourselves. We can do it.

I have my team already picked. I know with the people I have in mind, we could make true reform happen within three years. It would be a logical, lasting reform of the health care system which would be the model for the rest of the world. We would use good old Yankee ingenuity and diligence to solve the problem, not legislation. Why not give me the chance to “get-r-done?”

Obama Cooks!

In my business I learned about something called “root cause.” Whenever we were faced with the solution to a problem, we were to keep asking why, until we found the “root cause.” The concept sounds simple, but in the real world, looking for, and finding the root cause was not always easy. For the last two weeks, I have been looking for the root cause of the “bailout.” It hasn’t been easy, but slowly the facts surface and the source of the problem is emerging.

Back in the nineteen sixties Lyndon Johnson became President after John Kennedy was assassinated. LBJ wanted a legacy. He created the “Great Society.” He saw a world that  would be equal for all people, not just whites. His program was a response to the black civil rights movement. In nineteen sixty eight, with the support of President Lyndon Baines Johnson, Congress passed and enacted the Fair Housing Act (Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968). This law was enacted to eliminate discrimination within the housing market.

Tracing the path from the subprime mortgage failure to Barack Obama, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Bill Clinton, ACORN, to LBJ is complex, but the underlying root cause of this catastrophic failure is the Fair Housing Act. Looking back on it, the act totally contradicts good business practices of free trading banks. It is a Federal givaway program to poor people across the country. We as a nation bought into this venture, and as long as everything was going well, we enjoyed the profits.

Several leaders involved in the melt down  enjoyed really big profits. I laugh when I hear the politicians speak about the “greed” on Wall Street.  The “greed” thing was being promulgated by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The leaders of these organizations were cooking the books to make a bonus. Thank God the mess finally exploded. Who are the greed mongers? Three men emerge as prominent thieves.

They are: 1.) Franklin Raines, CEO at Fannie Mae, he left with a golden parachute of $240,000,000.00.

2.) Tim Howard, CFO at Fannie Mae, His parachute is valued at $20,000,000.00.

3.) Jim Johnson, CEO at Fannie Mae, jumped with a $28,000,000.00 parachute.

All three of these guys should be incarcerated, instead they went out and found new jobs.

Guess where they work now?  All three work for BO as economic advisors. With these three guys in his pocket, imagine how  BO will cook the books of the United States Treasury?

Can we really trust him to guard the hen house when he has all the foxes working with him?

Back to my original point, the root cause of this mess, the Fair Housing Act (Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968) must be repealed before it destroys the world economy.