Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Problem

I'm not an absolutist.  I try to keep things in perspective.  To take the long view.  But sometimes evidence comes along that challenge our basic thinking.  Many have a tendency to think that our problems are the worst that we've seen.  That at no time in history could we have experienced such gridlock, such despair over getting anything done, such polarization.  Well, according to the graphic below out of the Washington Post, they might be right.  When you look at how polarized we've become in about 30 short years, it's unbelievable.  Some blame it on gerrymandering, some blame it on talk radio, some blame it on the corruption of money, and on and on.  To me it doesn't really matter.  The important thing is how do we get ourselves out of this mess.  Some say open primaries, some say go back to the drawing board on drawing districts, some say we just have to be nicer.  Maybe it's one of those, but with the way things are as depicted in the chart, we will be in gridlock for a long time.

I'm not sure if it will take a prolonged crises of major proportion, either as a threat from offshore or a major financial meltdown, but either might bring the two sides together to work for solutions.  But there is another thing that could make a difference.  Leadership.  If we could find a leader, a true leader, who would try and bring people together, who people believe was implementing the best, fairest policies for the majority of Americans, then maybe people would come together.  Today we don't have that.  The President is absent.  He is a campaigner and nothing more.  And I'm not saying that as a guy on the other side.  I'm saying that as an American.  He hasn't remotely exhibited the leadership in either domestic or international policies that will allow us to come together for the greater good.  If you think he has, then you're not paying attention.  And let me also make this point.  A great deal of this alienation came during the Presidency of GWB.  Now a lot of that can be blamed on the war.  Fairly or unfairly, that's true.  A lot can also be blamed on the hostile press.  There is no doubt that the press was as hostile to GWB as they are docile to BHO.  In this day and age, the media controls the message, and they can drive outcomes pretty easily.

So how do we get back to a place where things can get done?  I'm convinced it's leadership.  We must find someone who can attract significant numbers from both sides.  When I look at the cast of characters who comprise the usual suspects for national office, I'm not seeing anyone in that category.  Where does this person come from?  Who is it?  I'm hoping they step up.

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Sunday, October 20, 2013

Motivation Monday


So now that the whole craziness of shutting down the government and the Republicans imploding seems to be over (or at least off the front pages) for now, I find myself nonplussed.  Flummoxed.  Feeling like the better team lost.  I mean, how can you win or even play the game if the deck is stacked so heavily?  More than any other time since he was elected, I've come to the realization that Obama will say anything to win.  He will make flowery speeches and talk about negotiating and then do the opposite.  He will meet with the other side with no intention of a serious discussion.  His lies and scheming know no bounds.  For him it's all politics and winning at any cost.  It's smarmy.  It's unbecoming.  It's certainly not Presidential.  And it's decidedly un-American.

And there is no check to this behavior.  In a normal world, the responsible press would hold him accountable.  They would point out the discrepancies, the lies, the craziness.  But that isn't happening.  I feel like I'm in an alternate universe.  I really have no idea how there can be responsible governing or how we can move forward with policies that benefit the majority of Americans.

The debt has been and is exploding and there is no check to it.  The welfare state is like a giant snowball rolling downhill.  And healthcare...well, it's a disaster.  I just don't know how we're going to move forward.  The more I think about it the less surprised I am at the rise of the Tea Party.  I guess a lot of those folks just arrived at the level of frustration that I'm feeling a lot earlier.  I'm not ready to take the leap to joining the radicals on the right.  But it sure is tempting.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Dogs vs Cats

Every once in a while I stumble on something that shows the coolness of dogs and the weird, mysterious, crazy beasts that are cats.  Here's another one...

Wednesday, October 16, 2013


Ever think of how cool it would be to work at Google?  Well, here's the process and the stats.  Pretty interesting.  Not easy...but if you've got the drive and the talent, not impossible either!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Friday Funnies

One evil genius in Marketing...funny how life imitates comic strips sometimes...

Wednesday, October 9, 2013


Quick trip out to Doha, Qatar for business.  This place is like the energizer bunny!  Growth everywhere!  Hundreds of billions of dollars being invested in infrastructure and modernization.  They are binding a new airport, a new port facility, new metro system, tons of new highways, an education zone that already has several American universities in residence, and buildings everywhere.  And most of the contracts are going to American companies.  Good for us, good for them!

Took the photo from my hotel room.  The skyline tells the story.  The small pyramid-like building just across the water is the Doha Sheraton.  In 2002 it was the tallest building in the city!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Tom Clancy

I was on travel this week when the news came of Tom Clancy's death.  Besides the fact that he was only a few years older than me, it was a sad day.  Simply put, I loved his books.  As is true for many authors, I thought his early stuff was the best.  I don't think I've ever enjoyed a book better than "The Hunt For Red October".  Couldn't put it down.  And the movie was terrific.  And then several years of following Jack Ryan's exploits.  Spellbinding.

If you'd like to read a great short tribute, check out Peggy Noonan's blog post that is linked over on the the right side of Mikesatthebeach.

I think he was a good, decent, and talented man.  Generous and kind.  And he made a mark.

RIP Tom Clancy!

Friday Funnies

Don't know why but I'm thinking a little toilet humor is appropriate this week.  Maybe it's a nod to all the crap that's going on inside the beltway...