Sunday, August 8, 2010

More Random Thoughts

Particularly with technology, particularly in a business situation, just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should do it.

We talk about honoring the sacrifices of our war dead. But do you do that in your life? That is, do you live in such a way and contribute to your country and community so as to deserve the sacrifices they made in your behalf?

Things that are good for specific groups short term, such as protectionism in tariffs, minimum wage laws which hurt the poor, and extension of unemployment benefits which hurt the economy and job growth, are often bad for the economy in general and do more harm than good. But they are politically popular.

I’m glad that when I was in my dating years, it wasn’t yet popular for women to disfigure themselves with tattoos and breast implants. In trying to improve on the creator’s finest work, they are like a vandal carving a mustache on the Venus de Milo.

Liberals have a religious-like faith that big government, more spending, more taxes, higher minimum wage laws, tariff protectionism, more benefits and more taxes are the solutions to all economic problems, despite their unbroken record of misery and failure.

People accuse me of getting my news from Fox News Cable. Fact is, I get most news from reading a wide variety of publications, as anyone who looks at the sources of the links in my Daily Political Digest would know. I don’t get much out of people shouting over each other, which is a staple of Fox and the other cable channels, regardless of political viewpoint. It’s the news version of Professional Wrestling.

I wouldn’t have an employee who never makes mistakes. If their work is always perfect, they aren’t doing much or trying new things. But I prefer them to make new and innovative mistakes, not the same ones over and over, which gets tedious.

When I was a senator, the joke on the floor was, “This would be a great job if you didn’t have to vote!” When you vote, you make enemies who are likely to remember far longer than the folks you voted with. Which is why politicians like to duck issues and kick the can down the road on the tough ones. We get the government we deserve. Anyone running for office today on a platform laying out the painful things that need to be done to save the Republic would be murdered, never mind defeated at the polls.

Every elected official thinks his first duty is to get re-elected, because his service is vital to the Republic. I decided early in my last term I had had enough and wasn’t running for re-election in 1982. It was wonderfully liberating in not only how I voted, but especially in what I said.

What’s the best thing I’ve accomplished this year? I think it was flying a kite with my granddaughter on the beach at Ocean City, NJ. But taking her bike riding on the Boardwalk and to the Philly Zoo are contenders. Oh, you meant career wise? Just doing my usually brilliant job there, nothing special. Like flying a kite.

So, I ask you. Are you better off now than you were in 2006, when Republicans controlled both the White House and the Congress for the last time?

Journalist. n. A propagandist who selects, writes and slants stories for the media to advance a cause, usually leftist.

Does anyone ever ask why Mexico, with great natural resources, founded about the same time as the US, is still a third world country? Lots of desert, but good places for agriculture, too. Could it be culture? And that begs the question of what happens to the US if we allow these failed, backward cultures to be imported and rooted here?

In the Marines, I learned that the view from the top is often distorted. Leaders, government, military, business or non-profit, need to get out and get a view from the folks doing the work and facing the challenges. The general tells the reporter that the army had light casualties that day. The PFC with a sucking chest wound has a different viewpoint of what “light” means.

Is there anything more pretentious than signing your name, John Dough, PhD (ABD)? If that works, I’m Bob Hall, PhD(ABE) (All but everything)!

A Marine’s Prayer: I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?’ Then said I, ‘Here am I, send me.’ Isaiah 6:8

What do you think about “Pay for Performance”? That is, the idea that doctors and hospitals with better outcomes should get paid more? Good way to improve the quality of care? It’s being pushed by the government. But suppose you are a patient with a lot of what the docs call “co-morbidities.” That is, you’re over weight, a smoker, have more than one disease, so you are a “high risk” patient. If the doctor or hospital takes on your case, the odds are higher of a bad outcome because of your situation. So the doctors and hospitals are incentivized not to treat you, to send you elsewhere, maybe that poor community hospital that has to take everyone. After all, treating you jeopardizes that better outcome ratio for which they get paid more. Every time government gets involved with good ideas, there are unintended results.

If my wife spots the smallest hole in my undershirt, she rips it up. Makes good cleaning rags, she says, though I never see them being used for that purpose. I think she’s culling the herd to improve the breed or something. At my age, if I get hit by a bus, I’m not worried about what the ER folks will think of a hole in my skivvies.

Is it just me, or has the phrase “throw ___ under the bus” become the latest overused clichĂ© for weak thinkers who can’t express themselves well?

Robocalls, where a political campaign has a machine call your number to ask for votes or money with a recorded message from a politician must work, because they are growing in number. I don’t get it. I find them annoying, even, maybe especially, from candidates and causes I support. When I was a candidate, we did no “vote for Bob” telephone calls. We did call our supporters on election day to offer a ride to the polls and thus remind them to vote, but that was it. I don’t see how annoying folks is good politics.


  1. Staff Sgt. Hall, that line about vandals and Venus de Milo is spot on. Great post.

  2. We just finished watching Star Wars Episode 3 with our four kiddos, and then I came up here and read this post. (We've made them wait their short lives to watch them all in order, as a family, which we're doing this week.) So, at the risk of exposing my oft-camoflauged nerdness, I wanted to share one of my new favorite quotes: "So that's how liberty dies, with thunderous applause." I had to tweet it... and wonder if this is Star Wars as societal predictor. But, I'm glad to have the ultimate knowledge that... in the end... good does win. Of this I am sure.