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Speaking of cowboys February 27, 2010

Posted by WillardWhyte in Musings.
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I am really beginning to form a fondness for this guy. And I really have not paid much attention to him, his record or much else to do with Gov. Charlie Crist.

He’s out to “change hearts, not laws.” OK.

His opponent down there in a Republican Party primary, a former state House speaker named Marco Rubio, counters that “Senators can’t change hearts, only God can change hearts, but senators can help change the law.”

I’d disagree. A good leader can open hearts and that will bring them a helluva lot closer to God than any law will.


This week’s nice thought … February 27, 2010

Posted by WillardWhyte in Musings.
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… goes to the Wyoming Legislature, which various accounts relate is heading toward adoption of an addendum to its Ethics Code instilling something called the “Cowboy Code.” The AP piece is here, but the gist is this:

The code would stress the importance of ethics such as living with courage, keeping promises, finishing what you start and saying more by talking less. The bill is a symbolic gesture that carries no criminal penalties and is not meant to replace any civil codes.

Ed Quillen makes all the valid points regarding why this is a grand gesture that points to a “code” that owes more to John Wayne than to reality — 150 years ago or today. Cowboys, of course, are people and they come in all varieties, as do their personal ethics.

But if you are going to brandish any set of ethical mores, this bunch wouldn’t be a bad place to start, I think. They all relate to a core holding of trust and the importance of bonds formed with others, even if they be strangers.

And the reference to courage in this context also connects to the notion of an understanding of where your inner lines are drawn, and around what beliefs, obligations and principles the lines in your inner salt are drawn. Because as the song says, “if you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.”

I talk a lot in this space about Reds and Blues and my own frustration with the inability today of people running our institutions to get things done efficiently and with grace. I often target politicians and their blog cadres for stridency, posturing and how they otherwise play the game.

Some interpret these thoughts and suggest I am an absolute advocate of compromise and value bipartisanship above all else. But those are just tools or attitudes of those who strive to tackle problems or obstacles with a goal of resolving them in the best fashion possible in order to advance the common good.  I do value and respect people of this ilk, certainly over those who use any and all means to advance or cement their own  interest — personal or collective — without regard to the common good.

But I also respect Cowboys — those who understand their inner ground and have the courage to stand and say I shall retreat no more. I may disagree with them furiously in my own heart, but I respect the courage of conviction.

That said, I also think we all need to re-examine just how widely we have drawn some of those inner circles, because some of us are ready to go to the mattresses over specific questions that are way, way afield from core values. And that’s what leads to ego-driven deadlock. That’s when our points of view start killing our ability to have a civil, illuminating discussion.

I could be wrong.

On Annibel February 26, 2010

Posted by WillardWhyte in Politics.
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I have no idea where this is going, but I urge you to have a look at give it a chance.

I say simply: It’s time.

Stimulating idea February 24, 2010

Posted by WillardWhyte in Musings, Politics.
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I find a lot that is encouraging when I read of things like this, even if when you get to the bottom of the tale you learn that maybe these companies were going to do this anyway — because that’s what they do. But someone decided it was important to stand up, add up all their projected plans for investment and hiring and lay it out there with some hoopla to make a point.

And that provides what they call in the management game a “teaching moment” — for you that translates into a lot more work.

As I float around the blogs I find a great debate about whether that big fat stimulus bill Congress ginned up a year ago has worked. And you can’t turn the corner without someone moaning and groaning about the bailout for Wall Street and the car companies. And now everyone also has an opinion about whether another jolt of government cash needs to be Tasered into the economy, or whether even the thought of that means Socialism is upon us and soon they’ll be coming for our guns.

 Much of what I read falls into the same old Red-v-Blue meatgrinder, but all of it seems to have two things in common: A deep loss of memory of — or appreciation for — exactly where we were a year ago, and a recognition of what needs to happen if we are to edge along the ledge to safety. (more…)

These crooks are made for walkin’ February 24, 2010

Posted by WillardWhyte in Politics.
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You know, I just don’t think this sends a very strong message to the people out there stealing our money — or to those thinking about taking a shot. I know prosecutors need to cut deals with people in the midst of conspiracies to work their way through the chain and nail as many as possible, but a big part of punishment for crimes is the deterrent. As this is a joke.

This guy — at the core of a defense contracting frraud case —  admits to taking a kickback and to fraud. The judge makes him give the money back in a fine and spend 5 years on probation because he’s been such a good boy in helping out with the investigation, testifying against two ex-USAF birds and is really, really sorry. The law said 15 years in the slam.

I guess in all of this some politicians were embarrassed, a couple of crooked flyboys did minor-league time and — gee — it’s only $8 million and that’s not even real money these days.

I think the judge should have at least gone for some “community service” time, say testing this battlefield communication system on point in Kandahar.

Sign of the times February 23, 2010

Posted by WillardWhyte in Musings.
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I wish I knew more about all the ins and outs of this guy’s “10-year” battle with a bank, because on its face it seems a screaming example of so much stuff going on today. An unreasonable bank. An equally unreasonable government tax agency. A stab in the back from a partner. A guy just sick-and-tired-and-not-going-to-take-it-anymore. That’s Terry Hoskins of Moscow, Ohio, a dude with a bulldozer and attitude.

Or maybe just one stubborn, self-centered, deadbeat bomb-thrower walking on obligations and responsibilities he knowingly took on, willing to spend a pile of cash on lawyers that probably should have gone to mortgage payments, taxes due and who knows what else.

And media so in a rush to be out there first with the superficial tale, the compelling footage and the Google hits like mine that they don’t invest the time to pull the brother’s lawsuit and the foreclosure file from the courthouse, nor hunt down the brother, the IRS and the bank to figure out what really is going on — and then relate that to us so we can make a reasoned assessment of whether this guy is champion or chump.

And already this story has gone viral — all over the WWW, the radio, the TV. Bloggers like me are cranking out comments like this and these people are ready to rumble.

Time out.

Is that what being a messenger is all about today — just cruise around until you snag what looks to be red meat of any variety, run it quickly under the broiler and then throw it out in the yard so you can suck in the most snarling dogs first thing in the morning?

I’m sure someone out there will do the digging and tell us the full story someday — probably a week or so after the guy signs his book deal live on Leno.

Here’s hoping the guy who rented him the bulldozer asked for cash.

Dispatch from the Rabbit Hole February 22, 2010

Posted by WillardWhyte in Musings.
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There’s some stuff out there some folks worry about — and some even seek spiritual guidance, since fixes of this world have such a habit of coming up short.

Hunger, brutality, Cancer, hopelessness. Ah, you don’t need a list.

But what if you had a chance — just a few minutes, mind you — to toss a few critical questions at — say — the Dalai Lama.

Would you be like this reporter and ask about — Tiger Woods?

I think my favorite part was the very last sentence — an obligation one might suppose.

The Dalai Lama made the remarks while in the Los Angeles area to support Whole Child International, an organization that advocates better care for orphans worldwide.



A stand-up man … February 22, 2010

Posted by WillardWhyte in Politics.
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… in Florida, under assault by Nattering Nabobs of Negativism, refuses to yeild.

I say Bravo governor.

Physician, heal thyself February 22, 2010

Posted by WillardWhyte in Politics.
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It’s hard to get into this without running the risk of seeming callous, but it all just seems so silly and misguided.

There is a role for government in minding the marketplace to ensure the general welfare by either pointing out hazards or requiring vendors to do so in big type or by simply saying you can’t sell that.

But we aren’t going to redesign the hot dog. It’s just not a priority.

Maybe we need to help some young moms and dads who do not grasp the dangers inherent in some foods, including the hot dog. And maybe everyone needs to learn the Heimlich Maneuver along with other basic first aid. I’ve seen it happen with a French fry right in front of my face.

But I, for one, would like to see this occur as part of regular Well-Baby care and counseling delivered by pediatricians to every American family through some sort of universal insurance system.

I wish the American Academy of Pediatrics was a little more vocal and creative in its support of coming up with a design for that.

Sunday stuff February 21, 2010

Posted by WillardWhyte in Musings, Politics.

So perhaps there is hope that the reasoned voices are beginning to pay attention — and are listening beyond the noise and the interpretations of the noise and actually hearing. This seems like progress.

And somehow I still think there needs to be a significant role in guiding the nation for this man.

But I could be wrong.