Recently posted quotes:

"There is no distinctly American criminal class - except Congress." Mark Twain (1835-1910)

“Be thankful we're not getting all the government we're paying for.” -Will Rogers (1879-1935)

"Stability in government is essential to national character and to the advantages annexed to it." -James Madison (1751-1836)

"Liberty must at all hazards be supported." -John Adams (1735-1826)

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Where and what’s next?

First it was New York, DC and thousands. Now it has come to Detroit and three hundred. Where will it be next and how many targeted?

Here’s my view for whatever that’s worth.

I believe we have effectively cut the leadership of al Qaeda off from its followers. There have gone underground in Pakistan and can no longer show their head to be very effectual. This has lead to a lack of direction at the top of the individual cells causing planning to be accomplished at a much lower scale. This may be either a good thing or a bad thing depending on where your observation point is.

The conclusion that I draw from this and recent activity is that the individual cells of al Qaeda are freely planning and are now attempting their own plots. However these plots will be on a much smaller scale and could quite possibly take place anywhere. These guys in Yemen and Somalia are desperate to show their stuff and retaliate against the oppression they see as their enemy. They don’t play well with others and want to be King of the Hill and will stop at nothing to get to the top.

These guys in Yemen and Somali are up to the same old tasks as their former leadership: recruiting, training, funding and planning. Are we gonna wait like we did with the Afghanistan cadre and then realize that it’s now too late to close the barn door? We’ve all got to get smarter!

They think smaller and are satisfied with smaller scale destruction and carnage as their goals and achievements. They are willing to kill only hundreds, instead of thousands, to get their message out that they are now the ballgame. They are working through individuals instead of teams like the former leadership.

We need to be on the lookout for the guy and no longer the guys. They will come at us one at a time, just maybe never again in groups.

How do we as a people prepare for this wave of attacks? The answer is more than likely just like the passengers on the aircraft headed into Detroit did – on our own. Big brother can not be everywhere. I am not calling for the arming of America and the rest of the free world. But, it probably gonna be up to us and us alone. Big brother will fight the big ones and we must fight the little ones. We just might loose a few here and there; but together we can win the majority of them.

Umar Farouk Abdulmattalab #2

I don’t know what happened, but I owe everybody an apology. During the copy and paste to the blog site, I must have not paid strict attention and didn’t copy the entire entry over prior to posting to the blog. I’m sorry for the oversight.


Where do these guys get their names? What is an Umar Farouk Abdulmattalab and how could an Umar Farouk Abdulmattalab possibly come up with the cash required to fly back and forth across the Atlantic time and time again? It boggles my mind.

I think it is time to enact a law that prohibits anyone with a silly, stupid or un-pronounceable name from purchasing a ticket, airline or other, to enter the United States without first posting a Million Dollar tariff. This tariff would require transfer prior to the boarding of the transportation asset in question.

This alone would stop the kind of actions that happened this past week and provide for the transfer of dollars from those oil rich nations back into our offers. I further propose that the funds sit in an account managed by an institution such as the First National Bank of Bryan, Texas or it’s branch office over in Snook until such time as it gains a sufficient level of funds so as to make it possible to distribute those funds via check to each and every citizen of the United States.

If Nasir al-Wuhayshi and his cousins, Said ai-Shihri or Anwar al-Awlaki, want to find money lenders willing to finance the tariff requirement, I say let them come on down. We can then be waiting on them with a room at Guantánamo or even somewhere in Illinois.

We could also do away with the two lists currently maintained, the No-Fly and the Terrorist Identity Datamart Environment (TIDE), and just maintain one list; the We-Gonna-Lock-you-Up list. Cuts down the overhead, don’t you see?

I can see him now; my brother’s cousin’s cousin’s brother’s evil twin, sitting in his cube at the Department of Homeland Security developing this plan.

I heard some reporter over the weekend state that if “the next bomber just happens to be singing//humming praise to Ala when he//she tries to set off their device; the HLS will ban that on all airways. They just don’t get it at all! My best guess is that this will prevent the Vienna Boy’s Choir from touring on anything besides a bus for the near future; just maybe they will get one over-nighter every other year. They keep punishing only those of us that play by the rules and never affect any real security with their silly rules. Wait, I have to take off my shoes to go any further.

The TIDE list I mentioned earlier reportedly holds over 550, 000 names. That makes it ineffectual from the start. The no-fly list is a manageable size. Does anybody honestly think anybody on it is going to present themselves to an airport using their own name and looking like their own self and expect to be able to get on an airplane?

I also heard someone state that there should be a marshal on these flights. That individual has not a clue how many flights there are of this nature. We haven’t the personnel or training ability to marshal every flight that comes into the US; much less those moving around inside the US. Money is not the issue or Congress would have it printed long ago.

The Obama Administration has not taken us anywhere the Bush Administration ever did. We are not any safer than we were a year ago or three years ago for that matter. We need real improvements; not some guy sitting in a cube in the basement trying to think up another way to make the line longer.

THE Administration has lost sight of its primary objectives and allowed secondary objectives, health care for one, to dominate their time. They must get back to the big four: (1) security, (2) jobs, (3) jobs and (4) jobs; though not necessarily in that order.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Afghanistan - Looking to Get Out - 28 Oct 09

Is the Obama Administration trying to find a way out of Afghanistan, a sneaky way out?

Is this the reason that a story linking President Hamid Karzai’s brother Ahmed Wali Karzai, to the C.I.A.’s payroll was leaked to the press? Not a frontal attack of President Karzai himself; but an end run using his brother.

Is this why the administration is delaying their decision “currently under review” on troop strength augmentation increases? Have they been trying to come up with a ploy and are they giving the story time to fester and allow the righteous indignation of the public to seemingly make the decision for them?

Who knows at this point? Ask yourself if this trick will work on you?

Think about it!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Activity - 07 Oct 09

I haven’t been very active here lately. This fact doesn’t in any way or fashion mean that I haven’t bee active – it just hasn’t been here.

I spent some time in Wyoming as my last post relates to since then I have been consumed keeping up with the goings on around the world. I will fess up that I have NOT been anywhere engaged in the Health Scare debate. Until such time as they really have a bill that looks like it is seriously “the Bill”; I see no real reason to follow the discussion very closely.

I have been hotly engaged in writing the story “Roomin’ with Dutch”. This has consumed much of my days. But don’t fret; it is just about complete.

I do think we have been let down by our representation in Washington and fully recommend that we get rid of them all. We should replace every one of them: lock, stock and barrel. Vote them all out. I do understand that we just might get rid of a good’n here and there; but I think the price we would incur from that is nowhere near the message that needs very desperately to be sent to the representation – we have to get serious.

I encourage everyone who reads this to continually post on twitter or anywhere you feel worthwhile the following messages. They are exactly the appropriate length and send the exact message we need to get through to all concerned.

TURN OUT EVERY Member of Congress running for election in Nov 2010. They aren’t doing the job and should go. Vote ‘em out; send the message!


DO NOT RE-ELECT ANY CURRENT Member of Congress running in Nov 2010. They aren’t doing the job and should go. Vote ‘em out; send the message!

Wouldn’t it be great to check twitter and find “TURN OUT” or “DO NOT RE-ELECT” to be in the top ten trending posts every day?

The two most important happenings going on today, other than our economic recovery, are the situations in Iran and Afghanistan. These two areas will drive the real news for the next year quite possibly without some huge break in the status quos.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Afghanistan - Can we continue to support them? – 17 Sep 09

Reports today from the European Union Monitors reviewing the recent election in Afghanistan state that as much as one third of the votes in the election were most likely fraudulent. This raises some very serious questions in my mind when we consider continued support of their regime.

President Hamid Karzai currently has 54.6% of the vote and his challenger, Abdullah Abdullah has only 27.8% of the vote. The monitors state that nearly 1.5million of the total of 5.6 million votes show signs of fraud.

We have been there for some time and things are getting worse instead of better. This is a place with a long history of discontent with outsiders coming in and trying to press their will on a nation of Opium Poppy Crop growers whose largest trade in the world supports the drug traffic and little else.

It is estimated that 2/3rds of the population of Afghanistan exists on less than $2 US a day. This fact stands singular while one considers the following: (1) one third of the country’s GDP comes from the Opium Poppy crop and traffic in illicit drugs (morphine, heroin and hashish), (2) a geologic survey states that the country is processing 36 trillion cubic feet of natural3.6 billion barrels of petroleum and up to 1325 million barrels of natural gas and (3) the government is processing//exporting copper that could earn $1.2 billion in royalties every year for the next 30 years.

Does any of this trickle down to the population? It doesn’t seem so if they exist on $2 US//day.

The human side of this war does not get the attention that it deserves. There’s more to play here than meets the eye.

Look into it and make up your own mind.

Monday, September 14, 2009

As little as $10mm will….. - 14 Sep 09

As little as $10mm will get the …….. job done! I saw this in the paper the other day. Or maybe it was on TV addressing some effort requiring funding? As little as $10mm; is that a joke?

The switch in who has the loose wealth around the world has me worried. The economies of resources in the areas of such items as oil, electronics and even music are areas where enormous changes have taken place over the last fifty to sixty years.

The industrialization of softly derived wealth is amazing. No longer is there a corner on the market of “who’s got the bucks?” The names of the past are not the names discussed in today’s world. The Rockefeller’s, the Rothschild’s, the Carnegies, the Morgan’s and the assortment of Royals no longer are hold eighty-five to ninety-five per cent of all the wealth.

Oh, yes. Some of these guys went by the moniker of “robber barons”; but they also put a great deal of their wealth back to work in their respective countries and around the world.

Now we have people taking home $20mm for making a movie. We have people taking home tens of millions for recording CDs that don’t sound anything like music.

The Wall Street compensation packages are right up there with the above. Is there anybody out there that is really worth $13mm, $60mm or multiples of $100mm in salary to run a company that nearly takes the entire country, or maybe the globe, under? I don’t think so!

I do not agree with the government getting into the salary governing business. This belongs to the private sector solely; but they need to start doing a better job of policing themselves. But, who is gonna be the first to do so? This is a tough task to undertake when the bidding for top talent goes on in the manner it does.

It will have to be some board of directors that really is doing the job they were elected to do.

I guess you might point out the Bill Gates of the world and his philanthropic endeavors as a bright light. I have no real good reason for singling out Mr. Gates; he just sticks out in my mind. But where are the others? There should be others. Oh yes, Mr. Dell also comes to mind as I ponder the question. There are probably many others that just don’t come to mind directly or that do the same anomalously. I can only hope.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Wyoming Fishin’ – 08 Sep 09

I have just returned from a great trip to just above Jackson Hole, Wyoming for a horseback excursion into the Teton Wilderness with my son, Joseph, and son-in-law, Michael Winters. We trail rode (if you are loose with the definition of the word trail) either 17 or 18 miles (depending on who tells the story) through some pretty rough territory: up mountains, down mountains and sometimes across semi-flat terrain (only @10% of the time).

There were eight of us, all associated with the Traveling Aggies, and two guides: one for the mule train, Carl, one for the trail ride, Dallas, (see above). We were met at base camp by a husband, Dan, and wife, Lynaa, team (fly fishing guide and camp cook). Every member of the staff associated with the Heart Six Ranch is really great people.

Not long after our start, we had the first real fright, a trail no more than two feet wide with a shear drop of maybe 300 feet to the river –tense moments right off the bat. We spent nearly a full six hours on horseback getting to the base camp – I might still have places that are not entirely healed from this part of the trek.
During the trip, two of the mules had a dispute with a tree causing a stampede and the loss of some food items and a fly rod or two. In spite of it all, we made it to base camp without the loss of life or limb. There is still the distinct possibility that Jake the mule may not survive the hunting season.

The next morning we were all up at the slightest crack of dawn and into our fly fishing instruction. One breakfast and instruction time was over; we got back astride our mounts and rode another two hours up to a place called Crater Lake for some actual fishing. I caught the first of my immediate group’s fish, a cutthroat trout, on my second cast. My son caught his first on his first cast. Michael spent a little longer with his first catch then lost it at the bank. My turn again; tenth cast; a really good one. Both Joseph and Michael took additional cutthroat also.

Two more hours back to camp.

The third day out we decided to hike up the mountain and spent most of the day doing so. Michael slipped into the river no more than 5 minutes into trek and had to return to base camp for dry socks while Joseph and I waited on a log just up the trail.

About forty-five minutes into the trek, Michael asked: “What’s this on the trail?”

At this point I conducted the indoctrination ceremony initiating both Joseph and Michael into the association of those of us that can truthfully answer the question due to first hand knowledge: “Does a wild bear shit in the woods?”

We eventually hit a point in time that we had pre-decided as our turn back time still having not reached the tree line with nightfall on its way; we turned back down the mountain.

Before leaving base camp close to noon, the guys and I had a discussion about what we were gonna enjoy the most after we get back to the trailhead. Michael’s vote was for a shower. Joseph’s vote was for a decent place to sleep. I, on the other hand being the aged member of the group, voted as the most looked forward event upon return to civilization was “getting off that horse for the last time”.

The forth day we packed up and returned to the trailhead for our trip back to the ranch and our first shower in four days. This time we were all just a little more experienced and the trip took only a little over four hours.

That evening, we had the biggest moose burger one might ever experience prior to going off to dreamland and our flight back to Texas the next morning.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Leadership - Part 14 – 12 Aug 09 – Leadership Maturity

How do you, as a leader, recognize when your leadership has matured?

Are you making better decisions? Can you react quicker and better than you did yesterday, a month ago, a year ago and how do you know?

An evaluation of the record is called for and most of the time it is only you that can provide that evaluation. Oh, you might be lucky enough to have a mentor that keeps you posted on this area of your development; but most do not. They have to rely on the old routine “yearly evaluation” by a supervisor who hasn’t kept track nor has just too many evals to do at the same time to put the appropriate effort into each one.

Here, let me point out, that I am fully behind hire-date evals or anything approaching a eval schedule that does not call for all evaluations to take place at the same time of year. If management is gonna use evals for a purpose, then make them worthwhile and worth the effort.

Take time to routinely evaluate your actions. I have mentioned before the use of “logs” and this is an especially good area where a log comes in handy. Routinely write down some notes of the “who-shot-John” variety and be especially critical of yourself when doing so. Often, the notes will come in handy later on when there is a need to fill in some details of the goings-on. You just never know. If you don’t have the notes, you just may be SOL. I always found the logs to be beneficial.

Logs may also be handy to use as weekly//monthly activity report feeders. Recording actions and the who did best//worse can often document subordinate evals also.

I believe it was Mark Twain that once said something like the following: “Experience is what allows me to recognize a mistake when I make it again!” This is credited to Twain and a few others; it really doesn’t matter who said it first - it still bears consideration. Evaluate your leadership routinely and see where you stand.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

TURN them out in upcoming National Election – November 2010

TURN OUT EVERY Member of Congress running for election in Nov 2010. They aren’t doing the job and should go. Vote ‘em out; send the message!

I am asking everyone that reads this to enter the above tweet everyday you go on Twitter. It can have an astonishing impact if everybody gets into the habit of posting at least one time every day.

Are you satisfied with the gang in Washington, D.C.? I’m not. I say lets get rid of the all. A great opportunity comes up in November, 2010 when we vote on every Congressman and a whole gaggle of Senators.

I have a very small following; but together we can make an impact.

We can send a message and it will be heard loud and clear. The best way to wake them up is to TURN them out.

Make no mistake; it will not matter if you vote out some that one might consider good. Those that replace them can be as good as the ousted; they can’t be much worse.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Leadership - Part 13 – 24 Jul 09 – Evaluate and Plan for the future

Continuing our discussion that we started in “Part #12”; are you into a career that you find is not living up to your expectations? Have you made a choice that has not worked out like you thought it would?

How do you respond? Is the career not taking you there?

This is a difficult position to be in; but the most has to be made from the bad situation. At least, lets hope what you are doing is putting the bread on the table. How long can you survive in the position you currently hold? The current economy will not last forever. The ramp-up could be just around the corner. Plan you next moves now and be positioned for the future. It will come; just like tomorrow morning. Be ready to execute.

Are you “burning out”, to use an all to frequently used cliché, in a career path that initially challenged you, but no longer does? Is this a real problem or a matter of interpretation? Might it just possibly be just some sort of mid-career slump? How would you go about rejuvenating the ole career if this is the situation?

Consider discussing this with your management. They might just have the answer you are looking for. Maybe the direction is a tangent to your current duties and responsibilities. Maybe there is room for additional responsibilities that can be added to your existing load that would tend to breathe new life into the somewhat routine day you find yourself facing. Sometimes what is needed is some sort of refresher training or just some “cutting edge” approaches to the current routine.

If there aren’t other avenues open due to size or maturity of the organization; this could be a hard nut to swallow. Tough decisions might have to be made. Pulling up the stakes, dislodging the roots and moving elsewhere at mid-career is a real tough decision to make; especially in the market we are currently in. If this avenue is not an option at the present; look at taking up a new outside interest. Search for one that requires somewhat “great” effort and considerable attention to detail. The “burn” has to be stroked no matter where the fire source comes from.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Little Gus Growing Up, well starting to!

Last night, Little Gus decided to take the first step in growing up on his own. We think he was trying to tell us the previous night that he was ready to take the first step, but I don’t think either of us was really ready to listen to him. He’s just six and a half months old now so all of his wishes and desires are not usually that straight forward.

After arriving in the bedroom last night about 10:01 PM, Gus laid down beside the bed and simply refused to let either of us pick him up to be put into his box//bed. He had tried it basically the same way the night before but my will was stronger than his. Well, it was gonna be different this time. He wasn’t budging this time. He rolled onto his back with his legs straight out.

Both Patsy and I looked at one another and said: “OK, let’s see what he does?”

I picked up the two blankets out of his big plastic box//bed and handed them to Patsy while I carried the box//bed out into the hallway for the night. Patsy spread the blankets out on the floor and we went about our night time rituals: face washing and the such.

Little Gus just laid there and watched. He didn’t move from his staunch position – not giving up until he had his way, so to speak. Just to be on the safe side; Patsy went down stairs and brought up the kitchen gate – hoping that if he roamed, he would at least be inside the bedroom when all was said and done.

After the two of us were in bed, we both peered over to see what Little Gus was doing. Shortly he picked himself up and moved over and lay down on the blankets. He rearranged himself and the blankets several times over the next ten minutes or so. Soon the lights were turned out on both sides of the bed – no more noise from Little Gus.

Upon waking this morning, Patsy found Little Gus right where she saw him last; sniggled up on top of his blankets – right where she hoped he would be. He was the recipient of a lot of praise immediately and for some time after that.

Little Gus had taken the first step to growing up all on his own.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Leadership - Part 12 – 13 Jul 09 – What’s Important to You?

How long have you been doing whatever it is that you do?

Are you enjoying yourself; not necessarily every day and every little bit of the day. But, in general; do you like what it is that you do?

Do you get up every morning with a burn that can’t wait until you get to work because there is something you just gotta get at? This may not be your routine but ask yourself if it should be.

Here’s another question you might ask yourself. Are you doing what you really want to do? I don’t mean “are you on permanent vacation?” Of course, we all would like to be in that rare air that allows us to get up every day and fish a different hole; but no, that’s not what I’m getting’ at.

Does what you do allow you to do what you want to do when you are not at work? There is just so much leisure time available to any of us. You have to bank it and spend it wisely. They will not let you buy anymore than your allowed allotment.

While you are at it; here’s just one more question you need to consider. Is what you do gonna get you where ever it is that you want to go professionally? If the answer to this is no; buddy, you need to start thinking and planning right now. There isn’t enough time on this earth to spend any where you don’t really want to be. Oh, I know this may not be the time to walk away from a paying gig; but it is always the time to think and plan to be able to walk away from a paying gig that isn’t getting you where you want to go.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Leadership - Part 11 – 06 Jul 09 – Integrity is Integrity

Several time over the 4th of July weekend, I heard someone refer to an individual’s level of integrity. I have seen this recently on resumes and have heard politicians spout off about their level of integrity.

Integrity, as defined by “The American Heritage Dictionary”, the second college edition, on pages 667 & 668, published by the Houghton Mifflin Company of Boston in 1985 is (1) the rigid adherence to a code or a standard of values, (2) the state of being unimpaired, soundness; (3) the quality or condition of being whole or undivided, completeness. OK, so the dictionary is a little old; but I’m here to tell you: integrity is integrity.

Look back up there at the definition. Tell me now; just where do you see any line of demarcation that allows one to have a degree of integrity? Right! There isn’t any degree of integrity; it just doesn’t exist. See the words: rigid, unimpaired, soundness, whole, undivided and completeness. You can’t get there without going all the way. There is no path to integrity that takes you half way; it’s all or none.

Look around and see if you can find integrity. I bet you have a hard time locating what might even be considered something close to integrity.

To borrow from Henry Ford, integrity is not just doing the right thing when others are looking. It’s doing the right thing all the time.

Let us also borrow from Mark Twain while we are at it: “It is curious that physical courage should be so common in the world and moral courage so rare.” from “Mark Twain in Eruption”.

Oh, I guess one might make allowances for politicians. To my knowledge, these days no one expects a politician’s integrity to measure the whole nine yards. I don’t understand or know why that isn’t true anymore; but that’s the way it seems.

But, back to the meat of the subject, when you hear someone refer to their level of integrity; ask them to be more specific: “Just how did you obtain your level of integrity?”

Maybe there’s a school out there that presents classes in integrity and gives out “grades” at the end of the instruction based on the attendee’s level of understanding. It’s probably one of those internet diplomas from the University of Integrity headed by the Prime Minister of Nairobi and you can complete the instruction in three easy emails; but first you must send them your first born and six fifths of you Social Security check for the next twenty-three and a half years. There’s just a chance that you might be able to qualify through a FBI website; that scam is running around the net again.

First, before you apply, make sure you understand the fine print. Be sure to get the entire program. Don’t get short changed and obtain less than the entire “integrity” certification. You owe it to yourself.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Leadership - Part 10 – 30 Jun 09 – Relating Military skills to Civilian

I was listening to an interview with LTG William G (Gus) Pagonis, author of “Moving Mountains” and the overall logistical commander during the build-up and conduct of the Gulf War in the early 90’s. He had some interesting points to make that very well parallel my own thoughts.

The interview was directed to former military members who are trying to land jobs or just relate their experience to civilian employers. This has always been a very hard accomplishment. It is next to impossible for one that hasn’t served in the military to understand just what a military logistician can do and has done during their tenure.

During my twenty-five plus years in manufacturing operations at every level of those organizations, junior to very senior management; I never once came close to the level of authority and responsibility I had even as a very junior Second Lieutenant in the United States Army. I worked in organizations from as few employees as eighty to well over six hundred and fifty.

There just isn’t any real correlation to the levels experienced by most military logisticians to that of their civilian counterparts. The routine scope of civilian operations is just too narrowly focused to begin to compare.

LTG Pagonis stressed that those with military backgrounds should “emphasize their leadership traits and abilities. This is somewhat hard to do and must be thought through very carefully. One must be sure that the degree of aloofness is not so condescending to put off the hiring manager in a way that it works against you.

Remember that any organization’s most important asset is its people-strength. The hardest obstacle to overcome in the civilian world is the “time to train”; it hardly exists. In the civilian world, they want to buy in the “trained” and not spend the time doing so. I believe this to be, in mot cases, a major mistake. The time spent in training and mentoring is much more important than the dollars spent in getting there. The bonding and camaraderie that takes place is of vital importance and pays off for long periods of time. Don’t underestimate it!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Iranian protestor still at it!

The war of words keeps going back and forth at the very top of both governments: the US and Iran’s. Neither can give in at this point; but it seems that the US is getting the best of the Ayatollah Ahmed Khatami and President Ahmadinejad. The Iran guys have definitely not done well in the eyes of the world leadership, the world press, and don’t even give the populous the opportunity to comment.

With Senior Iranian Cleric Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami threatening that some protestors should be dealt with “harshly” and some even “worthy of execution”, there is little wonder that Iran is fighting a PR battle that they can not win; but in their minds, they probably don’t even care. They are trying to become the spiritual and ideological leaders in the Middle East by promoting their tangent Islamic form of religion and justice. They only have to survive as a government to win the battle in their minds.

President Obama, backed by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, has only to continue to take the “High Ground” by responding to jabs from a government that has taken the position it has against its own citizens. The Iranians in power have made a mess out of the entire situation with the entire world watching them do so. Do they understand this? Who knows?

On the other hand, President Obama has stated that “Mousavi had captured the spirit and imagination of the Iranian people who want a more free society.” While this may be true; we have only the media’s word for this. Our leadership, in an effort to stay neutral, has not released any statements on what intelligence they actually have on the situation. I don’t know about you guys, but I am extremely uncomfortable taking the word of the visual media in almost any occurrence. The size of the spirit and imagination is really hard to measure from this distance; especially in thirty second sound and video bytes. Of course, there may be a better observation point at the level that President Obama sits; I certainly hope so.

Keep in mind that one on the ruling council opposes and has spoken out many times against the leadership and their actions, former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani. He even saw his daughter detained for a short period earlier; more than likely in an attempt to send a message to him. Rafsanjani chairs the Assembly of Experts and has the power to remove Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami from his position; a real “outta the box step” for Iran.

Watch Rafsanjani. He’s the dark horse in the Big Gamble.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Where is Iran headed?

Pay attention to what happens at the end of this Iranian hoop-de-do. Everything just might work out completely different from where we all are being lead by the media. You just never know.

“The man who reads nothing at all is better educated than the man who reads nothing but newspapers." Thomas Jefferson.

While Thomas Jefferson had reason to utter the foregoing; it might be a little too far fetched for this day and time. Newspapers admittedly have some agenda; but they are much more adept at the real news than the “short-byte” visual media. Thirty seconds just isn’t long enough to get to the bottom of anything.

The major problem we have with the Iran situation is that it is becoming more difficult to get the news out of Iran as each day passes. This might lead the visual journalist, under the gun for a sound byte, to “report” what they are spoon fed regardless of their integrity.

Republicans in the US are assailing the President for his lack of toughness on the Iranian protests. This is their best challenge to the Islamic Republic since the bad guys took over from the Shah back in 1979 – you remember that, don’t you.

Don’t be surprised if there is more behind the protests than election results; camouflage is not exactly transparent as it might seem. Look for Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani to come out of this with more power than he went into it with; even with his daughter’s involvement – more here also than meets the eye.

Mir Hossein Mousavi may not become President, but some other big change just might take place.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Leadership - Part 9 – 17 Jun 09 – Better and Efficient

As follow-on to yesterday’s discussion, I would like to briefly comment on “getting better” and how one goes about doing so. Part of that idea of being consistent has to be the effort a leader puts into “getting better”.

Leading an organization indicates that the group is going somewhere; not necessarily geographically, but somewhere other than where they are today. That could be somewhere philosophically, somewhere software wise, somewhere in the direction of new products; but never standing still, so to speak.

Hopefully, the direction the organization is headed is better than where they are today; always better. Maybe a more efficient operation is the only current goal. That’s lofty enough for anybody at any time. But more efficient at what cost, you might ask. Cost is always a relative term and only applies to the here and now. Costs are constantly changing; technology improves, costs come down, competitors go out of business – whatever the case, costs are always changing.

Leaders must never, never be satisfied with the status quo. They must always be looking forward. Sometimes forward is not straight ahead. It is often off on a tangent to the current direction.

Change must be the guiding light, somewhere out there in the future. Hopefully, its not accompanied by a train whistle at the other end of the tunnel; but a beacon out there in the stratosphere of the unknown world of “better”.

Heading down a new course, leaders must consistently be observing and evaluating the process and results. They must be ready to change course when the time is right. Constant changes in course are not always good. The followship may begin to believe the plan is “not up to snuff” and decide to jump ship, at least in believability – this is not good. Constant reinforcement is required. Information becomes king and is deserved by one and all.

Change, for the better, should be one of the organization’s central goals.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Leadership - Part 8 – True, Fair and Consistent

What part does truth play in leadership?

For my money; it may just be the number one element. My experience has shown me that when told the truth about the goings-on, those that follow will do so almost unquestionably. When “leaders” don’t tell the truth and the followship discovers this to be the case; it can take next to forever to turn the situation around, if at all.

Tell them the truth. If you aren’t able to relate the entire truth, due to confidentiality or some other hindrance; tell them that you are not able to divulge the entire situation. I have found that in these cases, if you have been telling the truth all along, the followship will understand and accept your offering and not press any further. But, if you have a record of not being forthcoming consistently; they will be very wary and this leads to a bad situation that is also hard to overcome.

Can you be fair?

Of course you can. It takes very little to be so and the rewards are great, intangible, but great. It is almost always possible to be fair and followers expect it; in fact they demand it. It may not be evident on the surface, but its there nonetheless. When the circumstances limit your ability to be fair; explain it to the followship. In most cases they will understand; that is if you have been truthful all along. There’s that “truth” sneaking in again.

How does consistency play a role in leadership?

Consistency is the long term report card of leadership. This wraps up the “truth and fairness” aspect of leadership into an umbrella trait. If you are consistently the truthful and fair player; followers will always know what to expect from you in these arenas. This takes a lot of the “gamesmanship” outta the entire world of management. When you play the role consistently, you inspire others to do so also. Play the role less than consistent and your subordinates will do so also; an unacceptable situation one might add. Consistency can also rub off on peers and other managers//leaders in the organization.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Leadership - Part 7 – A Leader’s Effect on Attitudes, Beliefs and Values

What effect can leadership have on attitudes, beliefs and values? This all depends on the quality of leadership and what you are working toward.

We all know that managing people is not easy; but when you also have to deal with attitudes that are a little different, beliefs that are not your own, and values that don’t come near matching yours; it becomes a real chore. Most experts will tell you that you can change these three areas of individual viewpoint only the slightest.

If this is so; where does that leave the leader in today’s “split down the middle” workplace? To repeat: it’s a chore.

People come into the workforce with a whole bundle of preconceived attitudes, beliefs and values. These have been developed over long periods of time and passed on by those that they have held dear to them, some more and others less. These outside influences have no place in your workplace; but they are there and do exist no matter how hard you might try to ignore them. They can not be set aside. You must face them straight on.

What you might be able to do is weaken the influences by setting an example that can not be competed with. The strength of the outside influence is the only thing appropriate to challenge.

The best attack is to establish skill sets that encourage the individual to be just that; an individual. This is only the beginning. Time is not on your side; but the longer you have their attention, the better progress you will be able to achieve.

Attitude is probably the easiest of the three to influence comparatively. A positive attitude is contagious and takes very little work to propagate. Just work at it everyday. The spreading effect is also on your side. The example you set here is truly important. Don’t ever let down. The slightest setback can undo a world of progress. Make the most of each setback as a learning experience and expand the knowledge of those affected by the happening. Never miss an opportunity for the group to learn.

Don’t forget: slipping backwards is a lot easier than going forward; its just human nature to do so. People have to be removed from an undesirable environment for a long period of time for real change to take place and hold on.

Beliefs can only be changed by success and it has to be continued success at that. Short term success will have very little impact on beliefs. A belief that come around over time will be set in stone; that’s the same way they developed the other belief. Don’t look for miracles and be pleased with minor advances.

Stress is the biggest deterrent to allowing progress to be maintained. Look for ways to release stress as it builds. One of the best ways to combat this that I have used over the years is the “group lunch”. People tend to open up more over food mixed with camaraderie than any other situation I have found. Try it.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Leadership - Part 6 – Got it Tough?

As a leader; do you think you got it tough?

Consider those in the military who contend with as much as a 33% turnover in personnel every year – year in and year out. How would you like to train or operate in that environment? With the standard enlistment and normal personnel rotation, they survive with a turnover rate that would drive a civilian operation batty.

So what is it that makes their situation tolerable and yours not?

I call the answer to this situation: the Pontiac model – GTO.

Right, GTO; that’s guidance, training and organization.

The military works off guidance. How can this be one might ask. Leadership, or management depending on your viewpoint, gives out mission oriented orders that realistically stand as guidance. This guidance is then put into practice up and down the chain of command gaining more and more detail the further down the chain the orders travel. There is absolutely no room for micro management here. They relay the guidance and then get out of the way and allow subordinates to operate. A certain level of authority is passed along with the guidance, it has to be, that allows the subordinates to make decisions on the spot and refer up the chain only that that needs to be referred.

They can operate this way because they have trained to do so. From the basic training structure, right through the advanced individual training courses post basic and then into the unit training environment; while doing their job, they are always training. Training, then training, and when that’s finished; they train some more. Yes, and it’s all accomplished while doing their job. There is absolutely no room for micro management here. They train and then get out of the way and allow subordinates to operate.

The next logical question is: how can they afford to train constantly? Well, the answer is in the way they are organized. Isn’t it great how Pontiac, even though they might be going away, gave us an acronym that just perfectly fits this model? Organization is where the entire ability is derived from. They know and understand the organization; everybody up and down the chain understands the organization. Everybody knows their job and how doing, or not doing their job, fits in with the overall unit’s accomplishment of its mission.

The intangible here is the camaraderie that is built up by the closeness that these units operate under. This is extremely difficult to duplicate in the civilian environment – next to impossible one might think. Not necessarily so. Consider the times and how close an organization becomes once they have been through a few reductions in force, or layoffs? There is a bonding that takes place. It comes after they have breathed a sigh of relief and then achieved a frame of mind that allows them to think about work and not about those that are no longer around. They have to go through this process; it’s natural. The quicker leadership gets them through it the better. They bond, they pull closer, they are more open to others that they might not have been open to before and the entire organization benefits from the experience.

This time is the perfect time to organize better for the coming future. Some organizations will not make it and that’s OK. Most that don’t make it will tend to be the weaker of those that existed prior to the business downturn. A certain culling always takes place during a downturn; a sorta thinning of the herd and redistribution of assets and opportunities. It’s to be expected.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Moral Compass and Purchasing from China

What does your moral compass tell you about purchasing goods and products from China?

Where does your compass reside on this controversy?

Does you organization have a policy concerning domestic versus foreign procurement? Where do you go for major raw material purchases?

How do you decide when the numbers tell you one thing and your compass says something different?

I had just this situation a few years back. Plywood out of the Northwest kept getting higher and higher. Another supplier, a US supplier at that, offered us a program supplying product from China. Our initial investigation showed the product to be inferior to US//Canadian product even at huge cost differential.

Further investigation developed a suitable source in China with a much higher level of quality control – these guys were good. Then came the formaldehyde scare; this caused some significant delay. After we were satisfied that the formaldehyde emissions were under control, all seemed to be on the right track.

Our main concern was that the Chinese were trying to buy the business and the subsequent price would jump to levels comparable to the US//Canadian pricing. This was a major concern.

After all, how could these guys buy logs from the Pacific Northwest, ship them to China – stripping the veneers in route, apply veneers to plywood core in China plant, ship finished containerized product back to west coast, transship containers to Texas, warehouse containers and still have a better price than the US//Canadian suppliers? On top of this, the quality of the end product was higher than that supplied by domestic suppliers; a quandary that defies logic.

So, you make the call. How would you decide? Take the deal or pass it up?

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Leadership - Part 5 – Have a Good Time

For my money, having a good time is at the top of the list in consideration for positions requiring leadership. If you aren’t having a good time, or better; there is hardly any reason to be there. You just gotta enjoy what you do; not necessarily every little bit of the day. You have to be able to look back at EOD and say to yourself:”Wow, how about that ……….?

They wouldn’t call it work if every single part of the day was totally enjoyable. There has to be some tough times, some stress, some strife mixed in with what you do. I will bet you that when you look back in retrospect the times you remember the best and most fondly are the tough times. That’s what made you who you are or can be.

It doesn’t make much different how tough the times were; somehow they turn out to be the good times.

You will also find that there is always a “we” that made the times memorable.

We all get our real excitement from different angles. Don’t be timid about looking for that next challenge. Regardless of where you have to go to take it on; seek it out. Expand your horizons; look to where you have never been before. Don’t be afraid to go where you haven’t been before. You have no idea just what might be around the next corner.

I was lucky enough to have made that exact decision when I accepted my first assignment in the Army and spent the next four years in Alaska. The lessons I learned there and the friends I made will last a lifetime; if only in my memory. The times were tough and the lessons weren’t always easy to learn or endure; but I survived and so did those I had the opportunity to lead.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Leadership – Part 4 - Cycles in Business Leadership

If you aren’t watching, the “stuff” you fixed a year or so ago can become unraveled. You have to continuously go back and check on the “Fixed Stuff”.

Due to the constant change that takes place, subordinates will tend to forget policy and end up ignoring rules and procedures put in place that kept things right in the past; it’s only human nature. What is important now is what is important now.

Think about posting a board where everyone can observe the “what we just fixed” areas of concern and periodically refer to certain items during staff meetings. Review their importance and why they got put on the “board” in the first place.

What’s broke today is important, but what used to be broke can be just as important if you don’t keep it in sight.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Ref: AAS Article - It’s a gas at the Texas Capital

Chaos is a good definition. I usually think of it as the best entertainment in town when the circus isn’t.

How can 1400 bills be disposed of but they didn’t see to the real business of running the state? The voter ID and guns on campus doesn’t come before the continued operation of state agencies. What are these guys using for a brain – Dorothy needs to search over Kansas a bit better.

It might just be possible that the Dems are smarter than the Repubs when it comes to the rules of the road. As the article said; the Repubs were “a solution in search of a problem” and nobody else was searching there.

If a special session is needed, Article 3, Section 40 states: “When the Legislature shall be convened in a special session, there shall be no legislation upon subjects other than those designated in the proclamation of the Governor calling such session, or presented to them by the Governor; and no such session shall be of longer than thirty days.”

It’s now up to Gov Perry to show what he’s made of; will he limit a session to the actual business of the state or play party politics?

Monday, June 1, 2009

Leadership – Part 3

What’s the danger of going outside the organization to find a departmental leader? This is a tough task and one that can not be taken lightly. Usually, you have only the word of the candidate to base decisions on. Unless you just happen to have a mutual contact that will shoot straight with you on qualifications and background, you are stuck with one viewpoint – the candidate’s.

So! What are your options? There aren’t many.

I was once tested using the method I am going to describe to you as a possible option for the hiring manager.

I reported to the interview on a Friday morning around 8:30 AM. The hiring manager was the Vice President of Operations. I have no real idea how many other candidates he had discussed the position with prior to my interview; but I discovered later that there were more than a few.

I sat down with the VP for about an hour discussing one thing and then another. He probed my background while I probed the organization, the reason for the vacancy, and the organization’s future. This phase of the interview went fairly well; I thought at the time. This is when he must have decided that I was worth a longer look. He told me he wanted me to stay the entire day, spend time with each department and several of the key players within the company. Well, I had to do some quick rearranging of my expected day. I had not planned on the interview lasting any longer than three hours at the most. I had lunch plans and another place to be that afternoon. I made a couple of calls and we were off to the rest of the day.

The next hour I spent in the warehouse learning their procedures and asking questions on how and why they did certain things certain ways. After the hour, the warehouse supervisor ushered me on to the purchasing department. I found out later that he reported to the VP just as soon as he had dropped me with purchasing.

On it went; next production control, then to shipping and receiving and right after lunch I was dropped with the production departments. Later in the afternoon, I spent time with sales, customer support and then time with HR. Each department picked my mind and then reporting to the VP with their thoughts.

Just about 4:00 PM, I was returned to the VP’s office, where we discussed the day, what I had learned and what ideas I had that could help improve the operations of each department. I was very frank with the guy and told him just what I thought in each case: where the strong points//players were and where I thought there was room for improvement.

The organization was on the verge of a huge expansion and I must have said the exact right things because he offered me the position before I left for home. I had basically worked the entire day “off the clock” and gave direction where I thought it was needed. I had met and passed the “can we work together” test with a wide variety of the organization’s vice presidents, directors, managers and supervisors. I had made my thoughts and ability to think ‘on my feet” very evident. I passed the test; good thing I was wide awake when I arrived there.

This is probably one of the best methods of working out a candidate from the outside I have every come across and have been put through. It works; but your interviewers have to be somewhat skilled to be able to test the candidate and have a great deal of openness to both sides of the struggle. Openness is of extreme importance in this interview process. You have to weight some areas greater than others unless the skills of each are just as strong as the skills of the others.

If you have the opportunity; give it a try.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Leadership – Part 2

I am sorry that some of you out there do not know of Alvin York or even Audie Murphy. Those of my generation grew up reading about them in our history books. They were leaders of the first order. Their actions inspired others around them, and those that heard of them, to undertake actions that they would normally let pass. But, maybe not just let pass; they would not even consider. Look them up. Wikipedia has short pages on each; it doesn’t take long.

Let’s get back to what I started to say yesterday: skills versus talent. Skills are traits that can be taught in some fashion or another: seminars, role playing, and revolving positions come to mind as good methods of developing skills. Talent, you can not teach. You can have a hand in developing it, just don’t try to teach it. Talent is a factor of the environment where the individual develops.

How do you test for leadership? This is hard to answer. You can put candidates in situations, challenge them with tasks under some pretty difficult conditions and evaluate results. But, if you haven’t discovered the difference between skills and talent; how do you determine who passes the leadership quiz? Some need the challenge of stress, some need the challenge of thought, and still some need the challenge persistence.

Skills, especially skills honed over a sufficient period of time, will allow the trained to out perform the true leader sometimes. I have been in situations where groups have been tested, you know like in the ropes course layout; and having experienced some of these layouts many times, the answer comes too easy. This is an unfair situation to those without the experience or opportunity.

So, in the short space we have here; how do you test leadership. If you are a hiring manager and are looking for a leader for one of your subordinate units; how do you go about selecting someone to fill that position? Will you settle for the best you have and try to develop over time. This is often the mistake that managers make. Even more often, they do not posses the leadership talent to do the development themselves. A bad situation!

Even worse, if you have to go outside the organization to find a leader; how can you tell that he//she actually posses the talent to do the job? This is a real conundrum that faces many executives today.

Think about the opportunities that will present themselves over the next two to five years. Assuming a ramp up post economic recession and the retirement of hordes of baby boomers leaving the workforce; how will management fill the coming opportunities with true leaders?

This is where we go next.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Leadership – Part 1

How do you get to be a leader? Are you the leader already? Are you a leader or just a manager? Maybe you aren’t either, but wanna be! So, how do you get there?

Leaders aren’t trained; but managers and supervisors can be. Leaders are products of their environment, not of some training school or academy. People can be trained skills and behaviors; but leadership is a talent. Talent is a development of the environment and surroundings that have formed you over a number of years and experiences.

Some leaders are easy to spot; you just can’t miss them. Then there is the leader who pops up outta nowhere. He//she wasn’t a leader before being forced into being one. The talent was always there; simmering just under the surface. Military history gives us the two best examples: SGT Alvin York and 2LT Audie L. Murphy. No one would have ever taken either of these two to be the leader they demonstrated that they were until the exact right set of circumstances called them out, so to speak. They then lead. Both were recommended for and awarded the Medal of Honor. Each also was the most decorated individual of their respective conflicts (WWI & WWII).

Products of their environment!

So, who out there is a leader. There has to be some around. In the everyday world that most of us play our daily game in, it can be hard to tell a leader from those that aren’t. Oh yes, there are the CEOs, presidents, directors and the such of the organizations we each earn our daily bread from; but just because they have a title, it doesn’t necessarily make them a leader.

Look around and give it some thought. Where are the leaders of today?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Guns on Campus Legislation still in the MIX

Leaders, statewide, need to quit sitting back and hoping this dies on the vine. It just might pass – wouldn’t that be something?

Every thinking individual needs to come out against this tomfoolery and put a stop to it right now.

The pro-Guns guys are hitting this as hard as they can; it’s all about their Second Amendment rights or so they would like you to think. We have lived without this law for decades and can keep on living without this.

Gun guys will argue that there is not a downside to this legislation as we have had a CHL law in place for a decade proving the point. Actually, this is just as false an argument as the anti-gun guys arguing the reverse – we have had a CHL law in place for a decade and there has been no evidence that it has really protected anybody.

A few university professors have come out in favor of the bill; but to date not one university president has indorsed the legislation – very few have spoken up at all. Are they silent for the same reason that the legislators are vocal? Where are they when they should be heard?

The back and forth comment section on the Statesman website is humorous at best. There is so much bad info there; it is regrettable.

Consider this:

The DPS website states that there are 314,000 CHL’s in place out of a population of twenty-three million Texans. That’s 1% and 1% is not gonna protect us from a wacko; it just will not happen.

The instructors have to go through a renewal course every two years to maintain certification. Holders of CHL’s have to recertify every five years. Why aren’t the holders treated as restrictively as the instructors; after all they are holding the guns?

There hasn’t been any drastic case of “blood in the streets” or “wild west” incidents over the life of the CHL period. Pro Gunners would like you to think that is a result of the pistol packers out there. Actually, the converse might falsely be argued by the anti-gunners.

The simple fact probably is that the law requiring the proofs//checks that it takes to obtain the license also conversely renders those with CHL’s to be very unlikely to initiate an incident AND are very unlikely to be involved or where an incident might occur – it looks like the carry ability and carry need have offset one another thereby nullifying the need in the first place.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Universities and Gun Control

I was proud to see Bill Powers come out opposing Guns on Campus today. Finally a cool head with a background of respect stated an opinion. (William R. Powers, Jr. – President of the University of Texas at Austin)

This is what has been missing from the debate so far to date.

Those in the Legislature, primarily the Senate, have just been posturing for position to appease a small, but vocal, part of their constituency on this subject.

If this isn’t what the Senate Republicans have been doing, its time for their form of “lack of leadership” to move on. There are much better people out there that can do this job without the absurd type of legislation the Senate has wrapped itself up with during this session.

Universities must remain “gun free” zones. As Mr. Powers wrote: “Universities should be a safe environment for free speech and civil discourse. Students are expected to express their opinions and make decisions about social interactions free of intimidation. So are faculty, counselors and other staff members.” (Commentary in the Austin American Statesman, dtd 22 May 09, p A10)

I would hope the other leaders of the major universities have the gumption to stand up and speak out also. This threat to our ability to build the best leaders of tomorrow can not go unheeded. Neither can it be sweep under the rug as if there is no way this kind of legislation can make it to the Governor’ desk. It just might get there.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Here we go AGAIN – Bicycling around Austin

Man, I love to bicycle but just haven’t got a bike anymore; haven’t had one for sometime. But, there is now a proposition before the City Council to spend in excess of $250mm on bike lanes. The Statesman article shows stats representing rider use within the population. Seems that something less than 1% of those going to work on a daily basis in our fair city do so by bike. Less than 1%, that’s right; less than 1%.

And what is this about the City’s Bike Czar, Annick Beaudet, program manager for the city bicycle and pedestrian program. Is this Annick Beaudet’s entire job?

The program was initiated in 1994 so it has been around for quite some time. Initially, the plan was staffed with a manager and two staff members and was to be funded chiefly by grants. The Council asked for pedestrian issues to be included in the program in 1996.

The city of Austin now has a plan that took two years to write, that’s right, two years. They want to get more of outta cars and on bicycles; it seems we are falling further and further behind Seattle and Portland- we really can’t let that happen now can we?

It just seems to me that there is just not enough justification for spending $250,000,000 on bike lanes, trails and bridges; especially within the economic environment we currently are experiencing.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Gun Control and where we are headed?

It looks like the Congress has been eating at the same trough that the Texas Legislature has been feeding out of; another bill allowing people to carry guns somewhere they aren’t allowed to do so now.

What is going on?

This has gotten way outta hand!

Before you know it, we will have guns everywhere; the grocery store, church pews, elementary school restrooms and who knows where-else?

Where are the cool heads of our Leaders?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Underperforming School Sees the Light of Day

W. W. Samuel High School in Dallas, Texas has passed the TAKS test after rated underperforming for the 5 previous years. English Math & Science. Oh Boy!

How do I know this? Because my daughter called me yesterday – so excited! She teaches 11th grade English Literature there; has done so for the past two years.

They have worked very hard. The English department passed last year, but the math and science departments did not. This year all three passed with improvements in their scores of double digits. It can be done. All that is required is the right motivation and a little time.

Way to go guys!

Friday, May 15, 2009

ATF and gun control

Watching the comments to the Statesman article in today’s paper makes you want to throw up. There is so much miss-information being bantered back and forth that logic couldn’t get a word in edge-wise.

Tracing 90% of Mexico’s confiscated guns back to the US: is it 90% or just 17%. The actual percentage doesn’t matter. It’s the total of weapons being purchased here to go there. Seventeen percent of a big number is a big number. Its illegal and should be stopped.

Then there’s the argument about the AK-47 “look-alikes” and its comparison to a 30-06 rifle. Here’s some of the facts:

AR-15 vs. M16 or M4
Semi Auto vs. your choice (one guy said 3 round burst – if you have a twenty or thirty round mag inserted; it’s a 20 t0 30 round burst – not 3 rds

AK-47 vs. 30-06
7.62x39mm cartridge vs. 7.62x63mm cartridge
120 grain rd vs. 180 grain rd
2300 ft/sec vs. 2900 ft/sec

AK-47 is a little less powerful until you compare the standard magazine load: 30 rounds to the 30-06 5 round or 7 round capacities. The difference in power means absolutely zero when you are on the receiving end; you’re just as dead either way.

As to the argument that the Austin Police Department officers would rather have a CHL holder (concealed handgun license) out there when they arrive on the scene; I not so sure I would like to be that guy. The APD’s record over the last two to three years concerning officer involved shootings would convince me that I would want no part of having a gun drawn when APD shows up to a scene.

Cooler heads will have to prevail. Luckily none of the wackos are in charge of our lives and will never be.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Leadership Development

I am working on a story today that primarily concerns leadership development. There seems to me to be very little of this going on, especially in industry. I don’t know why. There is too little time set aside for developing the leaders of tomorrow; both in the interview//hiring phase and the on-the-job development phase.

How does management plan for the viability of the organization structure? This contingency is as important as any other. When the ramp-up starts from the current economy//business cycle, there will be more movement of management and leadership talent than one might initially imagine. The movement will not come from the ranks of the unemployed. Oh no! They will be looking for proven talent and that will be first and easiest found in the ranks of the employed.

The organizations that ignore the opportunity to develop those that they already have just may find themselves in a real hurt. The proposition of looking for experienced talent when everybody else is also in the hunt should jump out as a real motivator to management to get in gear and train, develop, train again and develop those under their own roof where possible.

The time required to accomplish an in-house training program is minimal compared to searching, finding and orientating new talent.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

“Juicing” Gus

Yesterday afternoon, my hardware order for a new electric fence controller came in and I went over and picked it up; shiny red and everything.

Today, Buck and I got real sweaty replacing the old controller with the new controller. It really looks pretty hanging there on the fence just inside the gate and next to the AC unit. I went around checking out the stobbs and pounding back in those that have come loose recently; replacing a few here and there. I had to completely replace the two plastic stobbs right at the gate to Pupland; Patsy had torn them up with weed eater – no biggie, I have plenty.

I also had to rework the gate hookup; everything didn’t reach after lopping off the bad twisted wire.

I found the tester and plugged in the controller; all the time hoping it was gonna work like it should. I checked the controller – the light was pulsing and the noise sounded just right. The wire at the first gate seemed to be getting a good charge. The sun was so bright I couldn’t see the light indicator flashing, so I tried a few other spots; same problem.

I moved over to the area behind the Puphouse where there was some shade and was shoving the probe into the ground when I heard it.

Gus had been lit up and he was letting the entire neighborhood know that he didn’t like the “JUICE”. The fence works and has started doing its intended job.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Leadership and Moose Stories

I spent a great deal of the morning thinking about what I have been writing about and the people who joined with me during the endeavors that took place of which I write.

The events, often humorous to look back on, were often, at the time, anything but humorous. Most of the time these happenings took place under some of the most extreme circumstances that can be imagined. Everything from -112ºF to +112ºF, bears in the mess tent, hurricanes to earthquakes, aircraft excitement and mishaps; you name it and we were probably there.

Actions by people like David (Fitz) Fitzsimmons, Martin Snyder, the Pillsbury Dough Boy, Dickey Love, SSG Jones, SFC Toric, Herr and the rest made the adventures all worthwhile.

Great hunting stories: scrambles downhill, pilots in the mist, and the game warden laughing his &%**# off.

They’re all getting down in digital remembrance; then we’ll see.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Police Video not working – Again

This morning’s fatal shooting with officer involved is at least the third time in recent years where the camera was not running//operating as it is required to be during a shooting incident.

How can this be a common occurrence and happen, so it seems, every time there is an Austin police officer involved in a shooting? This can not possibly be a coincident!

What is the problem? Do the cameras fail this often? Is there collusion amongst the officer corps against policy? Just where is the problem? The public should now be demanding answers.

I believe the Chief to be an honorable man; but questions arise in connection to those surrounding him. Or, can it be the union that is the culprit?

Friday, May 8, 2009

Education and Guns and the Legislature and the Governor

Still we debate: the State Board of Education and Guns on campus. How long has this discussion been going on – the whole session plus more backwards in time? Where is the leadership in this state?

The Board has become the laughing stock of most of the nation. I bet those guys in Mississippi are having a high time now that the heat is off of them. This guy McElroy from my hometown of Bryan has gone about as far as he can be allowed. The legislature should deny his conformation and cause the Governor to move on and appoint a leader that can lead with both sides of his//her brain engaged – textbooks to Darwin to creationism; solve the problem.

The Guns discussion is backed by one of the biggest lobby efforts one can find. These guys are leading the legislature astray; they need to be stopped by cooler heads also. An opinion written and published in the Austin American Statesman today points out that there has been some bad data put forward by the Guns side. If this is true, we have been greatly misinformed for some time now.

All the quite little letters back and forth aren’t helping: (1) comparing spoons (obesity) and glass (alcoholism) to guns (deaths by violence); and (2) the inevitable “prior my cold dead fingers” and it’s my right – the constitution says so. These voices are getting us nowhere; they are just taking up a large portion of our allotment of oxygen.

I would like to see the background and qualifications of those making these arguments in both cases; along with the expertise, background and funding, for that matter, of those elected officials backing these measures. We expect them to make decisions and vote with their eyes opened and their brains engaged. I, for one, am fed up!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Texas bipartisan redistricting bill

I just finished reading Statesman editorial about the log jam over State Senator Jeff Wentworth’s bipartisan redistricting bill. This seems to me to just make good sense.

I can’t figure out why the eleven Republicans oppose the bill. Didn’t they learn anything from the last election? I firmly believe there is a movement afoot to toss out all the stick-in-the-muds and replace them with fresh faces and “thinking” minds.

Here I sit in Austin, Texas with no state senator representing me. The old 10th Congressional district disappeared some time back. Now Austin sits in three districts. Wentworth, who represents me, is from San Antonio. Part of East Austin is in the same district as part of West Houston. Then there is the part of Austin that resides with somebody to the East and South of them; far to the East and South. What were these guys thinking?

This will never get through the current elected body. They all have to go.

They should have been working on this instead of the factious “voter fraud” ID bill and the ridiculous thinking of GUNs in the workplace and on campus.

Wentworth just doesn’t seem to be in step with his constituents that I am in step with.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Afghanistan and Pakistan

This area has me worried a whole bunch. I just watched Hillary and the guys sign a memo of intent to cooperate with each other. Boy, do they need to!

There is much at stake here. The NUKES are not the least of the problem. The Pakistan government is weak and the Army is strong. I look for the Army to assert itself very soon; someway, somehow.

The democracy of Pakistan is still very weak. The leader only got the job because his wife was killed; no other reason.

Iran still just sits on the side of both and bides it’s time. Watch out!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Just Vote!

Just now have returned from voting! Man, it was as easy as pie. No hassles, no lines; just me, the election judge and his helpers. There was nothing to it.

This early voting is the best. Only time better was when I lived in Mesquite, right across the street from the elementary school that was our poling place. Get home, walk into house, out front door, across the street, inside to sign in, vote and walk back across the street to supper.

Five minutes top. Today, it took me almost fifteen.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

More on Twitter

I keep picking up followers on Twitter. There is absolutely no reason for this. They seem to pick out a word or phrase in my “update” and for that reason alone, they start “following”.

A lot of the posts I look at when I check out the new follower don’t seem to be rooted in reality. Go figure.

I have removed some of those I selected to follow already. Too much of nothing doesn’t add up to much.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Figuring out Twitter

I have been trying to figure out how this Twitter thing works and I think I have finally struck the mother load. I made a comment today about “no cases of swine flu in my back yard” today. Before you know it, I started getting emails about new people following me on Twitter.

I now have no less than two state governors there plus some interesting people from all over. Some of these guys were interesting enough that I am now following them.

You just gotta pick the right topic to comment on; more than that you have to pick the right “word” to use. It doesn’t have to be the right words; it’s more of a word (singular) thing. The narrower the search is the broader the results are.

Go search for “back yard” AND “swine flu” and see what you get.

Hadn’t tried before?

I hadn’t tried to post a pic before, so I thought I would see what happens.

Mr. Buck and Little Gus in repose! Finally quieted down.

Contact - As in staying in:

Finally had an email from Mr. Brown! All seems to be going well with him and his. His dad is getting along real well. He keeps busy in his semi-retirement doing the “around the place” stuff – 16 acres and the house. Gail is back working at the Wall-Mart. Preston and the rest are getting by.

It’s important to stay in contact with those that mean something to you. Never let go of a friend; ya just don’t know when you might need that one again.

It becomes harder and harder as we spread out; but with email the effort is minimal. The main task is to keep addresses up to date as possible.

Those guys in the North Country seem to be doing OK, per Trisha.

Dave Gaskins has started a new adventure just recently.

I even heard from a cousin on Facebook today!

We here keep movin’ forward.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Swine Flu Panic

There are more cases today than there were yesterday. I’m still not sure there’s anything to be overly worried about. All that I read says that the cases are mild in nature unless you are in the at-risk groups: the very young and the very old. Aren’t those the at-risk groups for everything?

Patsy called and ask me to pick up some “flu items” at Sam’s when I went to get toner. There was not much left, but I got what was there.

She also said that one of the assistant VP’s had an experience yesterday at dug store check-out where she had asked the counter-girl how much an item was, gloves or wipes – I don’t remember which, and the girl told her $6.99. She asked again: “What will it ring up at?” The counter-girl again said $6.99. She asked the counter-girl to ring one up and it read only $4.99. What was the girl gonna do with the extra $2.00 and how was she gonna get it from the Asst-VP?

You just never know anymore.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Secede or not to secede?

The papers are still running editorials and commentary on the Gov’s comments on seceding?

How can this be? Where are their heads? Why is this still in the news?

Maybe we should start some joint conferences to determine the split of tax revenue or how about the REAL big one: how will we split up the social security base. Can we get an agreement concerning the FICA shift on the 1000 or more people moving to Texas everyday?

How about the bailout money? Will that still come our way?

Where do we need to start building our mint or will we contract that back to DC? How about the Texas quarter; will they have to be collected up and returned to be melted down and recast?

Man; there’s just so much to do.

Got any ideas?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Swine Flu on TV

I sometimes wonder just what we did before TV. I have some faint memories of “The Lone Ranger”, “Gang Busters”, and even “Fibber McGee and Molly”.

All we see today is CNN and their followers highlighting the Pandemic of Swine Flu. We are four, five, maybe more days into this situation and there are currently sixty-eight suspected cases of the virus within the US and most of those are in New York. CDC says Swine Flu cases JUMPS to 68. Let’s see: that’s 68 divided by 230,000,000? Real close to 0%. You have to chase a lot of decimal places to get to the correct percentage.

There has even been some questioning about the safeness of eating US pork products. Where did this come from?

The real fear here is the “slow news day terror”. They have nothing to tell us. Oh ya, they did set aside some time awhile ago to show video of a truck-jacking case south of Atlanta and Arlen Specter changing sides in Pennsylvania.

I hope we can't catch it by watching TV. They haven't said yet!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Rain and DOG sitting!

I find myself inside today. I tried to do the outside thing earlier but even under the patio cover, I was getting wet from the rain and wind.

I had to take the dog sitting operation inside.

First, after getting us all inside, I had to make the room puppy proof. We will be spending a lot of time in here today. There have been several down pores already; really wet in the back yard. Buck was just setting out in the rain; taking it all in with no worries about the weather. Gus runs back to my chair every time lightning cracks.

I believe Gus is having “grandchildren withdrawals”. Alison kept him fairly well tuckered out the entire weekend. She ran him from pillar to post both Saturday and Sunday. Last night, he was very restless. I think he was wondering where everybody had gone. He kept searching or though it seemed.

After we all were situated inside, they both sacked out. It is the best and we do need the rain!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Daughter and her family comin’ down

Getting prepared for visit from my daughter and her family. Really looking forward to it. The grandkids are a joy! Ya never know what they will say next, even the little guy, he’s just fixin’ to be three.

I usually try to have some form of “excitement” ready to meet them when they arrive. This has usually been some piece of clothing lately. They have every toy known to mankind – also, some never seen in the free world yet. I try to stay away from toys for that reason.

I am at a quandary for this visit. I don’t have anything for the grand daughter this time. I have looked and looked and just haven’t found anything that I liked, yet. There’s still some time left.

I do have a t-shirt for the little brother. Sorta an “earth day” type deal – “conserve water, drink chocolate milk”.

Maybe, Ali will get excited about it enough that she doesn’t notice that she didn’t get anything this time? Probably NOT!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

How easy it is?

Just how easy is it to waste almost the entire day? Do you really need any help in doing so?

Well, today has been just that kind of day. It seems like every thing I touched didn’t work, failed halfway through or took longer than it should have. I did get the pup fed on time; at least that worked out right. Of course, I had help – he reminds me when he is hungry. You can’t ignore him unless you are in the next county. He’s gonna let ya know when it’s time.

First off it was the printer. It started sending me messages about half way through the forty page document I was trying to print. The confound thing wants to tell ya when it’s getting low on toner. I tricked it a couple of time and got several more pages out; but then it started thinkin’ harder than me and won the battle. I just get some more toner when I go grocery shopping tomorrow.

The “drag” of Gus (the new pup) by Buck and I took longer than it needed to take; but ya gotta just keep the training up.

Then I ran outta iced tea – a major setback. This was the easiest fix all day.

I’m still trying to figure out the “TWITTER” thing. I had a message about “following” and I think I fixed it; I guess somebody will tell me if I didn’t

And so it goes………

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

School Closings ????

A most interesting editorial appeared in the Austin American Statesman this morning concerning the “school closing” policy of the state.

One wonders why the guys running the state board of education can’t understand just what they are or are not doing, depending on your point of view.

Why on earth would they close a school that shows marked improvement? Where is their head? The Statesman takes the view that they are closing ”buildings” as opposed to schools and completely ignoring the problem. It’s the teachers, the parents & students, the curriculum, the environment of the students or something else – it’s not the building.

There has to be a better way to approach this problem. There is a bill before the legislature this session that addresses this but is now stuck in committee.

This problem, unlike the perceived problems of voter ID and allowing guns in the workplace or on campus, needs more attention than it is getting.

This is the future staring us directly in the face.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

It’s not just another day!

I took this from the final paragraph of the editorial in the Austin American Statesman this morning. The 21st of April, 1836 is not just another day – it’s special to a vast area, most of which the inhabitants of know nothing about. They don’t even feel beholding to the little eighteen minute battle that took place just after four thirty in the afternoon today some one hundred and seventy three years ago.

San Jacinto Day, every 21st of April is the day we should celebrate just like that other victory day, 19 October 1781, when General George Washington overcame General-Lord Cornwallis at Yorktown, Virginia. General Sam Houston’s victory actually had a much larger impact, total acreage wise, than general Washington’s victory.

It is estimated that nearly a million square miles of territory changed sovereignty that day. What is now the states of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, California, Utah and parts of Colorado, Wyoming, Kansas and Oklahoma was opened up to Jefferson’s manifest destiny.

Thank General Houston for going against the odds and four of his six commanders who voted against that afternoon’s charge.

Here we stand, Americans not Mexicans!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Gotta get a bigger BOX

New pup, Gus, is getting bigger every day. He’s almost outgrown his “computer box” as he bangs around in it every time he rolls over during the night.

We looked at Sam’s Club, the HEB and even stopped at the Office Depot to see what they have; all for naught. None of them had anything to offer any larger than we currently possessed. The best we could find was the box (attached to a pallet) at the Sam’s Club that was holding dog beds; they wouldn’t take us up on our offer.

I got to thinkin’ as we were driving home. Monday morning, I’m gonna call FedEx and see what they will contract for to pick up Gus every evening, fly him to Memphis overnight and return him each morning? This sounds like my best bet; depending on their offer.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Secession and the Governor

So, what’s all this talk of secession?

Maybe, it’s a good idea. Maybe it isn’t. But the original question was the 10th Amendment and State’s Rights. That’s always worth discussing.

This all got started the other day at the “Tea Party”.

There is one thing for sure, whether it is Washington, D.C. or Austin, Texas: the bodies that sit in either place need to start paying attention to what the people are saying. You would think that after last November’s election; that would be abundantly clear to even the most casual observer.

The local legislature still hasn’t heard the word. They’re still debating the oddest thoughts in the time we are livin’: Voter ID without voter fraud being an issue, Guns at work and on campus, Secession from the Union. Where does it stop?

We should seriously consider voting them out of office: every man, woman, Jack and Jill of them. They are not doing what we sent them there to do.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Austin Mayor Election Heating Up

Finally, the election for the mayor of Austin is heating up. It’s about time. Everyday there is something in the local news directly related to the election.

I am still weeding through the list of candidates; of course there are really only three strong vote getters involved. Two are actually to my liking and the outa-touch grand-mother, I believe has run her course. She will get votes because there is a following there that will not be convinced there is actually a better alternative.

It’s easier to run from the outside, taking pot shots at those on the inside track, then it is to have to run with a record. All grandma has done was back in the 70’s and some as state comptroller; but nothing lately. Most saw through her bid for governor; but you realize Kinky help upset that cart.

I am still looking for the real test – when will we actually get to see and hear debate on single-member-districts. Austin has outgrown the current method.

Just look at place #5 on the City Council slate and see what’s going on there. The guy is running unopposed. That should only be the case under the single-member-districts form of government. Under the current form; you can pick and choose who you run against and it becomes especially awkward when someone decides to not run and the voters are only offered a single choice.

An election back or two the two best candidates in the entire election were running against each other for the same spot on the council. This left the voters with less than the best running for the other two spots. So, out of the three spots open for that election; we elected one real strong candidate and two weaker candidates instead of the alternative of two strong and one weaker. Go figure?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Doctors and their Staff???

Once again, I had an unpleasant visit to a doctor’s office. They can be the biggest waist of time and they don’t seem to care a hoot!

Today’s adventure comes on the heels of Monday’s adventure; a visit scheduled over a month and a half ago. Seems the doctor decided to take the day after Easter off; perfectly within his rights to do so. The rub comes from the fact that nobody saw fit to notify me. Additionally, my wife had taken off from work to accompany me to this rather unpleasant procedure.

I show up and then am informed that the doc is not in and I need to reschedule. I also need some lab work accomplished and a CT scan finished prior to seeing the doc. We went next door right away and had blood work drawn in lab conveniently located and scheduled the CT scan for today, Wednesday, 15 Apr 09. We couldn’t get another appointment to see the Doc until the 1st of May; although I had done no wrong.

I arrived today at 0850 hrs for my 0900 hrs appointment and was told to have a seat; actually the guy signing-in just before me was told that and the window shut. I had a seat and fifty-five (55) minutes later I decided I had had enough and advised the receptionist that I was leaving. She immediately exclaimed: “Didn’t they call you back for the CT?” I responded: “NO and I am leaving!” I will not go into the inept operation I experienced last year with your CT operator – that was an ordeal in itself.

Not one person ever came out to advise me or anyone-else for that matter, that things were running behind. Nobody had that assignment or if they did; they so reluctantly dread it, they never do it. I had had enough.

Once before a couple years back, I had been left for almost three hours in this same facility without any thought or concern. They just don’t seem to care! Where else is kind of behavior acceptable? Nowhere, to my knowledge. They just wouldn’t get away with it anywhere-else. If this was a business where you could walk out and go next door to their competitor and get satisfaction; they wouldn’t stay in business long. Doctor specialist don’t seem to get it. They know that it could take you months to get set up with another doctor; so they allow their staff to get away with this kind of behavior.

You shouldn’t have to stand for it!

After arriving home, I put together a letter and turned it over to the US Mail notifying the Doc that I was gonna seek out another physician to provide the service his staff obviously didn’t see fit to provide. Don’t take it. Stand up and tell them: “You’re fired!”

I spent many years running “support operations” at many, many places in my career in manufacturing and the military. I never once came across an operation as bad as this one.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Leadership and the Alpha Male

I’m sitting out on the patio watching my two dogs act up in the back yard when I realize that I have seen this before. Not before when I had the older dog, Buck and his sister Maggie; but long before that.

I have been watching this action take place, over and over, through out my entire career. It’s the same thing you see in any pack, group, and a bunch of people together or a work group for that matter. Somebody is the “alpha male” and the others aren’t; no matter the size of the pack//bunch.

Somebody is leading and the rest aren’t. Watch the others and see just exactly what they are doing. As I watch my two in the back, the pup, Gus, is trying his best to get Buck to play. Buck isn’t having any of that. Buck has bigger and better fish to fry. He won’t give in and ever once-in-a-while lets Gus know that he won’t. How does he do that? Well, its not a pretty site and Gus doesn’t feel real good about it for a short period of time – he has a real short attention span and memory also.

Suffice it to say, Gus is learning. Buck is teaching. How many times have you witnessed a group where the “non-leaders” want to play and the leader is mentoring them to follow the path of his leadership – do it the way I show you to do it!

Yes, I’ve seen this play out, over and over, through the years and I am watching it take place again. Right in my own back yard. It’s somewhat amazing how far we have come in domesticating ourselves. Did ya think I was gonna say our pets? No, ourselves.

However long it took, we have domesticated ourselves to fit the pack mentality and have learned to lead and how to follow. We all fit into one or the other category. Which do you fit into?

Monday, April 13, 2009

Heroes and Leadership

Isn’t it great to hear of your everyday American Citizen’s heroics like those that have been displayed in this short year so far?

Capt Chesley B (Sully) Sullenberger of US Airways flight 1549 and Capt Richard Phillips of the Maersk-Alabama. They are true heroes and belong right up there beside those of the United States Military.

Heroes and leaders aren’t necessarily the same thing; but both these guys have shown that they were leaders in the process of becoming heroes.

Man, ain’t it great?