Saturday, February 25, 2012

Pole Dancing

There was a feature on CBS news this morning that showed a woman “Pole Dancing.”  The movements were graceful and acrobatic.  It was a very nice act, worthy of the Cirque troop that performed it.  Someone I know made a comment that it should be an Olympic event.
I remember when I was first introduced to this fine art form.  It involved women with very little clothing and folded dollar bills.  It has apparently come along way, but I say if we can evolve two greased up Greeks rolling around in the dirt into todays Greco-Roman wrestling why not have Pole Dancing?  It has a lot more of the word athletic in it than curling doesn't it?

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Three Words I Never Thought I Would Hear Together

 "Invasive Ultrasound Imaging" - Washington Post article, written by AP, updated Thursday Feb 23.

I wonder if all the expectant parents who go into their Doctors office to see their babies know this is an invasive procedure? 

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

We Don't Like Yours

This discussion, captures in a little under three minutes my great fear.  The administration is writing checks it can't cash that will come due with our children.  Will my social security be there when I retire and live to be 80?  Not likely, its own predictions show that, and the answer... someone will have to fix that when we're gone.

(H/T to Legal Insurrection)

Monday, February 20, 2012

Women's Rights

Okay here’s the deal.  I really need someone to explain Women’s Rights to me.  Anyone?
There is a lot of discussion in the media, and Internet these days about “Women’s Right’s.”  At least according to the television press (i.e. ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, President Obama and the Democratic Party are fighting furiously for them, and the Republican’s and the Catholic Church are against them.  For the record I am all for women having rights, men having rights and even human’s having rights if I only knew exactly what those euphemistic terms really mean, and we use them not as battle cries but as a means to a common understanding.
Within the current context, as far as I can figure out, “Women’s Rights” are almost exclusively limited to control of, and government mandated funding for, her reproductive cycle.  It doesn’t mean she should be equal with men, or not discriminated against in the work place because of her gender, or have the right to vote, or run for public office, although these too appear to be rights women should have.  I know in America they do have these rights, so maybe the women’s rights argument is only about what more to expect and not equality?
Since the government has ruled that a Doctor, in consultation with the woman, has a right to terminate her maternity with an abortion then does she not have Woman’s Rights?  Or is there a legitimate fear among advocates for abortion that if the government does not provide funding for Planned Parenthood, and other abortion providers, and mandate that all insurance plans must pay for abortion then the free market system will not provide sufficient business to allow them to make a profit and thereby continue in business?
In August of this year the Department of Health and Human Services issued “historic new guidelines that will ensure women receive preventive health service at no additional cost.”  Among the now provided “free” services are well-women visits, screening for gestational diabetes, testing for human papillomavirus for women over 30, counseling for STD, screening for human immunodeficiency virus, breastfeeding support, supplies, and counseling, domestic violence screening and counseling, and, oh yes, FDA-approved contraception methods and counseling.
On January 20th, Secretary Sebelius issued a statement allowing religious organizations that objected to portions of the August ruling an extra year to put aside their objections, and implement the rule by August 1, 2013.   At about the same time the Catholic Bishops released to the American Congregations their letter of concern with the Administrations assault on separation of Church and State.  In this case the mandate that they as a business must provide their employees with access to FDA-approved contraception, which would include abortion.  In what seems to me to be a splitting hairs type attempt to take the pressure off, the President has gotten involved with an attempt to compromise by saying the Church doesn’t have to provide this, but the insurance companies they contract out to must.
Of course, just as with any discussion that may touch on Planned Parenthood - the liberal, pro-choice spin machine swung into action, flooding the news media and Internet with a load of hysterical adds, signs, and shows making this a church of old men against women, or old Republican candidates are at war with women issue rather than a First Amendment debate.  This is one of my favorites:
Lets talk about this poster for a minute, since this is really where I begin to get confused.
Can anyone explain to me in simple, straightforward, and an easy to understand way exactly what basic right the Church is taking away when it doesn't want to endorse, by payment for, contraception? 
As a commenter to this blog noted on an earlier post, the Second Amendment gives citizens the right to bear arms, but where is the call from advocates for gun ownership demanding that the government provide weapons to everyone that wants one. 
Our constitution outlines what I’ve always believed to be our basic rights, human and otherwise, and over this past one hundred years or so the government has grown to provide other benefits.  Does the fact  the government provides a benefit mean that it automatically becomes a basic right?
The Preamble to the Constitution says:  “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure Domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity to ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”  You can add to these the first ten amendments, known as our Bill of Rights, ratified en masse on December 15, 1971.
1.    Freedom of Religion and the Press – Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.
2.   The Right to Bear Arms
3.   The prevention of taking a homeowners house without consent, to house troops in a time of peace
4.   Protection from search and seizure without the establishment of probable cause
5.    Clarification on the citizens rights during a criminal proceedings
6.   The right to a speedy trial and to confront your accusers
7.   The right to a Trial by Jury in Civil Cases
8.   Protection against torture and impossible bail
9.   Clarification that just because a right is not contained in the constitution it should not be construed that those rights don’t exist
10.  The Rights of the State
While the list gets longer with the additional amendments nowhere in those rights do I see a mandated requirement the governments, both state and federal, or extra-government organizations like the church must cover the cost to exercise that right.  Can anyone help me on this?  Why is this issue so special?

Saturday, February 18, 2012

What If?

What do you do when there is no right answer?  It would be so much simpler if life was as black and white as the extreme left and right would have it.  When you see only the one side of an issue or a problem it is simple to know what you think should be done.  But does this really lead to good options or viable courses of action?  It seems to me whenever we attempt to fix things with such a parochial and one sided approach what we end up with is something I am hard pressed to think of as progress.
For example, if we take a pure libertarian view where government should be as small and unobtrusive as possible with very few regulations regarding commerce what do we end up with?  Are we to believe that industries and pure capitalism will govern themselves to protect the consumer?  A true libertarian would argue so, based on the capitalist system where consumers will move away from products that do not perform to expectations.  My concern with this approach is how do we deal with the individuals harmed in the process of the market correction?  This seems like a good idea unless you happen to be one of its casualties.
How about on the other end of the spectrum, with progressive communism?  Putting aside the emotional stigma the word has, on the surface it seems a great concept where the “Haves” and the “Have Nots” share in the wealth of a nation or the world to improve the lot of the “have nots.”  Karl Marx theorized:
Problems emerge when capitalists pay the working classes very low wages while keeping the profits for themselves. In this manner the rich would become richer and the poor would become poorer. This situation would lead to the working class becoming frustrated and angry, therefore rising up to “seize the means of production.” The purpose of the uprising by the workers would be to distribute the wealth in a fair manner among all members of society. This stage of historical evolution would be called “socialism.”
A socialist state would have the workers own the means of production and all would share the profits equally. The workers would be working for themselves, not for the benefit of the capitalists. All forms of government would slowly disappear, as the workers understood the benefit of working for the good of each other. Once this model state of affairs occurred, his ideal society that he called communism would exist.[1]
In Marx’s ideal state there was no government because everyone would be working for each other and for the sake of the state to which they were equal members.  Unfortunately the history since Marx has not seen the evolution of mankind to that perfect state he predicted.  What we see is a ruling class continues to exist and the workers ended up working is servitude for that class and its goals.  In today’s America the progressives that argue for this form of society inevitably view themselves as the intelligentsia destined to lead society into this perfect world where governments will somehow evaporate.  Good for them, but what about the other 99% who will serve the society to keep it producing the goods and services society needs?  If the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics is the example of an end-state does the average worker find him or herself better off?
Over the past forty years we, in the United States and Europe, have been involved a global struggle against an elusive and shadowy threat that is next to impossible to confront rationally.  It is a threat that secular progressives cannot understand or come to grips with, making it impossible to form a sensible and constant strategy.  Part of dilemma is they view anyone who does not agree with their worldview as irrational, and believe others outside the United States must have the same opinions as they do.  As we see with their aspersions of our fundamental Christian movements they believe religion is the cause for oppression and that once God is removed from the issue everyone should get along.  The only problem with this view is the nativity or arrogance of it.  You cannot will God out of the lives of 2.1 billion Christians, 1.5 billion Muslims, or roughly 2.2 billion other religious followers[2].  So here we are, forty years after the 1972 Munich Olympics still trying to figure out how to deal with Islamic terrorism.
So my question tonight is this, is there some middle ground  available to the world between the radical right and radical left?

Friday, February 17, 2012

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to a Decision

One of my great character flaws is an unwillingness to allow a vacuum form.  I don’t know why I have this flaw or when it developed, but I have for as long as I remember been willing to make decisions when I felt it necessary to do so.  Some have been within my authority and others have not, like when my boss was unwilling, so I made one and moved forward.  These have always been minor administrative-type decisions, never the big ones involving life and death choices.
We are, right now, in an interesting time for my organization.  We have a boss who wants to make decisions and move out at a speed far faster than anyone else in the organization does.  His immediate advisors all support this approach and are doing everything they can to implement his directions.  For probably the first time in my life I think we are moving too fast, and making decisions without thinking through the consequences of them.  These are multi-million dollar choices, and call me crazy but I would like to see some discussion on the benefits, risks and needs before we make them.
One of the most sage pieces of advice I ever received from a mentor was “relax, don’t make a decision before it is absolutely necessary.”  This allows time for more information, more options and more understanding of what that choice will lead to.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


I’ve heard it all my life; “how someone deals with adversity says a lot about that individual.”  Sometimes I wonder what that really means, but each of us confronts adversity in our own way, and there is no simple way to capture that old adage with absolute clarity.  We deal with life based on our own experiences, our training, and the foundations we developed as children.
It would seem a wonderful utopia if we didn’t have adversity in our lives, but then what kind life would it be - really?  We are whom we are, not from the simple successes we have, but from the failures and defeats we have picked ourselves up from and continued to move forward.
We either gain resiliency or we don’t.  If we don’t then each success is dismissed as happenstance and each failure is magnified.  If we allow the adversity that is a normal part of our lives to become a dominating center than I think we inevitably fall into the pool of self-pity.
 Today, I sat in on a review of a flight test program that has been going on for a year.  The contractor promises great things and routinely fails to deliver on those promises.  We’ve reached a point where we have to decide what to do.  To her credit, the program manager of this project stood up and called for a suspension to the flight test program, but she was in a position where she had few options.  Over the next month she will struggle with how to salvage a program that is already a year behind schedule and millions of dollars over the original estimates.  It will be a great challenge for her and her team, but she is a strong woman and I think she will come through with good decisions, but choices made earlier in the program will subject her to senior leader reviews that will question every decision she and her team have made.  This next month will be a stressful time for her.
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