Thursday, July 28, 2011

Don't Dis 'em if there not there

Earlier this week I was in a meeting and heard previous leadership denigrated. Three former leaders of the organization were called "idiots." One consultant who worked fairly successfully for the organization was derided as "that Jerry guy."

Look, I know that we don't mix with every leader. I know we don't have leaders doing what we think ought to be done. But not doing what we believe should be done isn't the same as being a weak leader, or as being an ineffectual leader.

We've heard countless talking heads biting at the President for "failing to lead," and heard calls for "stronger leadership" on the commentary shows both left and right. My favorite was a recent David Brooks column in which Brooks asserted that the President needed to show leadership by doing X, Y, and Z!

The President had already done X, Y, and Z.

Yet it seems that the only criteria we have for any leader is "did they achieve my goal?"

Or as one of my church council members from back in my days of being Pastor at Trinity, Georgetown reminded me (he was a banker), the only question people seem to be willing to ask is "What have you done for me lately."

Anyway. I wish that we would take a deep breath before deriding our leaders as idiots, calling our political opponents imbeciles and generally denigrating the intelligence of those who don't do what we want done.

Maybe they can't. Maybe they're ideologically opposed. Maybe they're constrained by situation. Maybe they don't think our idea is a very good one.

Please stop calling for "stronger leadership" unless you can do some behavioral definition of that. And please, please, please, don't call and absent former leader "idiot."

If you're willing to do that, what will you say about me when I leave the room?

Friday, July 22, 2011

How Come It Goes Like This

Has this been anyone else's experience: You break down and as soon as the replacement part arrives the original part works good as new.

Background: Five or six years ago I purchased a used Panasonic AG-DVC7 video camera for about $700. Not a bad price. I also purchased an extended warranty. Within a year the camera malfunctioned so badly that I had to send it to a repair shop in New England. It came back nearly perfect. The exception to perfection was that if I pushed the record button on the pistol grip the whole system shut down and restarted. If I pushed the record button on the handle on top of the camera everything was fine.

The repair costs were almost $400, and covered under the warranty. The warranty was cancelled after paying the repair costs.

Fast forward six years. I'm setting up for a wedding a week ago Monday and this camera decides not to work. It's giving me the same symptoms as previously. Push reset. You push the reset and you get a "service camera soon" message.

End of camera. It's OK because this is an SD camera and I need to be switching services to HD. But I hope to get some additional wedding work. So, back to Ebay where I find another AG-DVC7 for $450. Purchase. Shipped. Got it today.

Slight cosmetic issues. The view screen slightly too loose. But it will do.

Out of curiousity I try another battery on the old camera. The old camera is now working as it used to.

Crap! Maybe I didn't need the new camera. But if I didn't buy the new would the old have worked?

Are there actually little gremlins who take delight in making electronics suck until we purchase replacements?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

What, No Coverage?

I've been checking various news sources for coverage of the Wisconsin Fake Primaries. So far, a brief article on the New York Times is all I've found.

Why isn't this story isn't getting lots of national coverage?

Background for anyone who hasn't followed the story: after Republicans over reached dramatically in the winter, the Democrats, mobilized and activated in a way they hadn't been for years, managed to put six Republican State Senators on path for a recall election in July. The Rethuglicans, afraid of getting their asses spanked by the voters, decided to primary the Democrats (and to get recall petitions against 3 Democratic state senators). The Republicans ran "fake candidates" in all six elections, forcing a primary.

The "fake" Democrats were all soundly defeated. Of course, winning was never the point of this process. The point was to stall, perhaps with the hope that the people of Wisconsin would forget their outrage?

The effect was to force government to spend money on un-necessary elections. So much for fiscal conservatism.

All six actual Democrats won. Most by large margins. Even though Wisconsin has an open primary and Republicans were encouraged to vote in the Democratic primaries, the turn out was mostly of real Democrats.

Does this mean anything nationally? It should. It should demonstrate that the over reach in Wisconsin, Ohio, Ne Jersey, Maine and Kansas has consequences at the ballot box - if Democrats organize and get out the vote. We can defeat the moneyed interest of Karl Rove and his corporate cronies, but we have to be serious about it.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

The Need for Single Payer

In the wake of last year's health care reform it seems as though prices have suddenly sky-rocketed and coverage has gotten worse.

My basic copay per visit has remained the same, but the copays for all drugs have gotten worse - except for the generics - and the coverage for dental has gotten worse - because the insurance company demanded 75% buy in from our campus.

Drugs are the worse part of a worsening situation.

I used to have a copay of no more than $30. Now, one drug has become extremely limited to me and costs $60 copay. The cost of that drug sky-rocketed from approximately $10 per pill to over $25 per dose. Another went from a $30 co-pay to a $45 co-pay, and as far as I can ascertain, that's pretty much the cost of a thirty day supply. One vital medicine Kris takes isn't covered at all and costs $5 per does.

What's going on here?

I suspect that the drug companies and the insurance companies want to make things so bad, and blame it on the modest reform of the health insurance system.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Time Does Not Bend

I know that there is this theory in physics that time and space bend around a black hole. I'm not sure what it even means to say that time bends.

I do know that time is not a fungible quantity, but is, in fact, rather inflexible. If you spend your time you do not get it back again.

Today I spent my time: melting paint off half the slats on the north side of the porch; helping a student figure out plan C; installing the network printer at Bethany Church & figuring out how to make it function as a scanner; grocery shopping; getting checks ordered for Hershey Track Meet families; cooking dinner - including cooking a new mac and cheese dish from BBQ U; watching Maddow and doing a little web surfing.

I could list all the things I didn't do. They were legion.

The point is, the tasks I did filled all the day I had, and now, at 10:40 pm I have no day left. Nor can I get a refund on the day I spent, so I had better make sure I spend it wisely!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Siw Malmquist at Allsång

It's great to see her at her greatest. She's at least 10 years older than I am, right. But there she is, singing her songs and selling her recordings! May I do at least as much when I hit her age.