It seems to me that anyone who really cares about their country, who is a genuine patriot, has to care for everyone. Life is NOT a zero-sum game, where the gains enjoyed by others are a loss to you and yours. No, life and human society are highly complex, interdependent systems where every part has a role to play, and when we don’t provide optimal conditions for the health and well-being of some of the parts, the whole body suffers. Would you want your car’s engine to go without one of its spark plugs? While it would still get you to where you were going, it wouldn’t do it as efficiently, nor as effectively. In the end, it would almost certainly cost more to deal with the results of an imbalance in the engine than it would to ensure all its components were kept in good working order.
Yet many approach life as though they are living on an island. It’s difficult to fathom the level of insensitivity, blindness to reality, and the callous lack of empathy it takes to turn one’s back on people who may not directly affect your life in a way you can feel immediately, but who nevertheless impact the organizations and institutions you deal with all the time.
For instance, by not ensuring all children receive healthcare, adequate nutrition, and early education, we ensure our up and coming workforce will be less prepared than they otherwise could be for the kinds of jobs that will be available in the near future. The net result is we not only handicap those children, we also handicap their families, their friends, and the entire nation. By guaranteeing they need more help for far longer than might otherwise be the case, we add to both their burden and ours.
We hobble ourselves with mistaken, outdated, unsupportable notions that give far more importance to diversity as a bad thing; as something that takes away from our sense of worth, of self. Instead of understanding, celebrating, and taking advantage of all the ways in which we complement and enhance each other, too many of us turn those virtues into imaginary vices and use them to divide and separate us. What a pity.
Here’s another one of Glenn Kirschner’s wonderful YouTube videos on the state of our Justice system and, especially, the legal machinations of Donald Trump and his lawless administration.
This is a particularly good explanation of why Glenn believes the Supreme Court will finally bring an end to Trump’s attempts to hide his tax returns from the American people. If you aren’t familiar with how the courts work and, especially, what the real role is of the highest court in the land, Glenn does a pretty good job of explaining it.
PS – As of today, there are 13 days left until Election Day. If you haven’t yet voted, please have a plan and . . . git ‘er done!!
Still working on my Photoshop skills. This was a difficult one. Finding the right pictures of each member of America’s premier crime family took some time. It’s not perfect, but you should be able to get the idea. Actually, drawing and quartering might be more appropriate, but there’s some historical significance to this method.
PS – Jared and Malaria probably ought to be in here too, but I’m tired of looking at all of them.
Can we please stop using the phrase “Rule of Law?” The law has been used in this country for some of the most racist, vicious, and nefarious acts committed anywhere and it’s not, IMO, a useful phrase. Better that we use “Equal Justice Under the Law.” Here are a just a few examples of laws that have been passed or rulings that have been handed down that make the point:
Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 – At the time it was passed, Chinese were only .002% of the population, but white people were worried about maintaining “racial purity.” Like today’s fears of immigrants, it was claimed they were taking jobs from white Americans.
People v. Hall – 1854. In this case, the California Supreme Court ruled that Chinese people had no rights to testify in court, adding them to the language of the laws at the time that stated “No black or mulatto person, or Indian, shall be allowed to give evidence in favor of, or against a white man.”
The internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II was facilitated by numerous laws and Executive Orders, including EO 9066, signed by our “Democratic Socialist” President, Franklin Delano Roosevelt. My own in-laws were forced to assemble at Santa Anita Racetrack, where they resided in captivity until they were transferred to the Granada War Relocation Center in Colorado (AKA “Amache”) where they were interned for over two years.
Slavery – The laws supporting slavery are too numerous to recount here, as each state had its own “Slave Codes,” which were designed to give slave owners absolute power over their slaves, including forbidding slaves to even defend themselves or their family. In many, they were forbidden from learning to read or to leave their plantation without written permission. All of these restrictions were perfectly “legal” at the time.
The history of the U.S. and Native Americans is rife with treaties and acts continuously taking away land or forcing entire communities to leave their ancestral lands and move to less desirable locations, as well as hundreds of treaties which were broken by the U.S. The Indian Removal Act of 1830 forced the removal of five tribes, culminating in a forced migration later known as the “Trail of Tears.”
There are numerous instances in history, especially notable ones being the laws passed in Nazi Germany making it unlawful to aid Jews and providing for their imprisonment and extermination.
All these were done under the color of law, e.g. the “Rule of Law.” We need to stop using this term. As I noted above, “Equality Under the Law” seems far more on point if we’re interested in freedom, justice, and equality of all peoples.
My first foray into blogging was at Blogger, where I posted as The Cranky Curmudgeon (https://crankycur.blogspot.com/). My very first post was on Thursday, February 23, 2006, and you can read it here. I posted reasonably frequently for a while, but I’ve always been somewhat sporadic in my writing, mostly because I get deeply involved in my work and just haven’t been comfortable spending time coming up with subjects, then researching and writing about them. Now that I’m semi-retired and, more importantly, my girls are growing up (my oldest just graduated High School last week) I have more free time. I also would like to see if I can make a little money writing and posting to my blog is great practice. I’m contemplating a book about the Peace & Justice movement in Los Angeles during the late sixties and early seventies, when I was extremely active. That’s another story.
My last post to The Cranky Curmudgeon was on February 1, 2014, which seems a bit weird as it was long after I started Systems Savvy (where you are now) and over two years since my previous post at the end of 2011. I suppose I could do a little archaeology and figure out what I did back then, but I’ll leave that for some other time. What’s important now is I just want to share this video. I believe it was created to run during Super Bowl XLVIII. Unfortunately, it didn’t (as far as I know) and it really should have, IMO. It makes a very important point, which I don’t think has been satisfactorily settled yet. So I’m offering it here, where a few people may view it and it will remain until the Sun goes red giant and swells to engulf our planet. Which means it will be viewable for at least another billion or so years. Hope you enjoy it!
Last night my Rotary Club of Simi Sunrise led a community effort to assemble the bicycles we had raised money for and purchased to distribute to children in our community whose families could not otherwise afford to get them one this year. We planned on buying, assembling, and distributing 300 bikes, but were only able to get 272, because there just weren’t any more available.
A sample of the 272 bicycles assembled for community gifting.
Above is a pic showing some of these bikes. They were all assembled, put through a final quality check to ensure everything was done correctly, and loaded into trucks for distribution to the various groups and agencies who were participating in this event in approximately 2.5 hours. Kudos to everyone involved. It really was an amazing event, topped off by free pizza from The Junkyard, which was delicious.
PS – The title I used for this post reflects my knowledge that things like philanthropy and volunteerism (especially the former) can be indications of a failure in our society to meet the basic needs of many of our citizens. While I recognize there is, indeed, a problem of economic justice inherent in the ways we distribute goods and services, I also recognize there remains a real need regardless of the theories and concepts we can develop to describe and explain them. I therefore wish to opt for doing what I can (and Rotary seems an excellent avenue with which to do it) to alleviate some of the discomfort caused by the imbalance.
In a previous post I mentioned some work I had done for Quantellia involving the Carter Center’s efforts in Liberia to strengthen the country’s legal system. I have not been at liberty to discuss the effort until a couple of weeks ago, when Quantellia announced the work and their findings. Of their work, the Carter Center says:
Since 2006, building on its long history of engagement in Liberia, The Carter Center has been implementing an access to justice project in Liberia in response to these critical needs and invitations by the government. Governed by a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Justice, and in partnership with the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the National Traditional Council, and other stakeholders, the Center works in four areas with the aim of helping to create a working and responsive justice system consistent with local needs and human rights, paying special attention to rural areas and the needs of marginalized populations. ¹
One of those four areas mentioned is “Improving Access to Justice”, and Quantellia was tasked with building a decision model showing the efficacy of sending Community Legal Advisers (CLA), now called Community Justice Advisers (CJA) out into remote, underserved communities by providing them training, support, and motorscooters. These CJA are paralegals and they are tasked with helping both plaintiffs and defendants gain access to the formal justice system which, in many locales, lags behind the people’s use of customary justice.
I want to share the results of that work here. I’m very pleased and proud with the role I was able to play in the final document. The agreement was that I would do research and write a first and second draft, at the least. Also part of the agreement was that I would not receive credit, which I was quite happy to accept. I am, therefore, grateful the authors saw fit to acknowledge my efforts in a footnote. It’s far more than I expected; a lagniappe.
Here’s a link to the World Modeler Blog, where you can read Quantellia’s announcement regarding the project. Although both the paper and the video are available there, I’m also including a link directly to the paper (here) and embedding the video below.
I have often said I thought I would find it hard to find something to do that would be as exciting and fulfilling as working on the manned spaceflight program — specifically the Space Shuttle Main Engine — which I did for over two decades before my (somewhat early) retirement. After all, working with many of the world’s best rocket scientists does have its perks (or perqs), especially intellectually, and being a part of humanity’s effort to venture out into space is something I feel borders on the sacred. Working on this project provided me with those feelings as well and was both challenging and fulfilling. The video and the paper are, in my opinion, very well done and beautifully presented. I am proud to have been a small part of it.
I am, of course, very supportive of Quantellia’s vision and the products and services they have to offer. In fact, in case I haven’t mentioned it elsewhere, I began an association with them as a referral partner at the beginning of this year. If you’re dealing with complexity and would like to hear how we can help you realize your goals more effectively, drop me a line. I’m easy to find.
Beautiful, well-done video with a powerful message.
I’m preparing a couple of posts on Decision Science, but they take a little bit of research and more careful writing than I can muster in one sitting at this point.
In the meantime, I really think this video needs to be seen. Changing the name of a football team is not much to ask, considering how much has been – and continues to be – taken from the peoples native to this land. We have a long way to go to make up for the almost successful genocide. This seems a small thing to ask, even though it involves a Sunday activity that’s surely more popular than Church.
I hope this is a question many men have asked themselves. It’s important to understand and come to a useful resolution about this, as I think there are many men who support women’s equality but are somehow intimidated by the thought of being seen as a feminist. Let me say it right up front. I am not only a feminist; I have been one since the early 1970s. It’s important for men to understand what being a feminist means, because it has nothing to do with being feminine, which I think is why many men might cringe somewhat at the thought.
The Oxford English Dictionary, online edition, defines a feminist as “a person who supports feminism”, and Wikipedia defines feminism as follows: “. . . [A] collection of movements and ideologies aimed at defining, establishing, and defending equal political, economic, and social rights for women. In addition, feminism seeks to establish equal opportunities for women in education and employment”. As a movement, feminism is complex and – for the most part – understanding its history isn’t important to the issue of whether or not men can (or should) be feminists. On the other hand, one of the reasons for this post is to share a short video that addresses one of the more egregious historical responses to the struggle of women for suffrage, i.e. to gain the right to vote.
One of the main reasons I have been so supportive of women’s rights almost as long as I’ve been able to vote is my belief, as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. famously said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”. Then there’s also this little thing called the Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. I like to think the meaning of these two maxims – and so many like them – is that inequality is not a good thing. Since the very essence of feminism is, as stated above, the goal of establishing “equal political, economic, and social rights for women”, it seems to logically follow it is something anyone – even men – of good conscience must support. Let’s take it a little further, though. Let’s ask ourselves who these women are who wish equality. We don’t have to look very far for they are our mothers and grandmothers; our sisters, nieces, and cousins; our girl friends and wives. In short, they are all women, everywhere. Why would we not support feminism and thereby be feminists?
This November 6th we are going to make a choice in the trajectory our nation will follow for the succeeding four years, almost certainly a lot longer since one or more Supreme Court Justices is likely to retire. The Republican Party, through its most important representatives and through its actions, has made it clear they wish to return to a level of patriarchy that makes women second-class citizens and, in some respects, returns them to the status of chattel. Although the party has tried to move the national conversation away from the highly-charged term “War on Women”, the reality is a victory for Mitt Romney would be a “Disaster for Women“. It is imperative for not only women to understand what’s at stake but, perhaps, even more important for men to understand because they have a tendency to be somewhat timid when it comes to supporting these basic rights of women (should read merely “people”).
Today I came across a wonderful short video that recounts the struggle of a group of women who protested for the simple right so many of us take for granted – the right to vote – and were severely punished for their temerity. This was less than a hundred years ago, when Woodrow Wilson was President. Less than 100 years ago! There are far too many of us who either haven’t registered to vote or, in our apathy or despair, won’t take the time to vote. This is not a good thing. As Plato said, “One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.” The struggle for the right of women has come too far to now go backward. Here is the video I want you to see. I hope you’ll share it as well. It’s very powerful.
I retired nearly 13 years ago, though I've continued to work during most of the time since then. I'm hoping to return to work on the RS-25 rocket engine program (formerly the SSME) which will power our return to the moon. Mostly I'm just cruising, making the most of what time I have remaining.
Although my time is nearly up, I still care deeply about the kind of world I'll be leaving to those who follow me and, to that end, I am devoted to seeing the forces of repression and authoritarianism are at least held at bay, if not crushed out of existence.
I write about things that interest me and, as an eclectic soul, my interests run the gamut from science to spirituality, governance to economics, art and engineering. I'm hopeful one day my children will read what I've left behind.
The views expressed herein are those of the author. Any opinions regarding the value or worth of particular business processes, tools, or procedures, whether at his former place of employment, at a current client's enterprise, or in general, are his responsibility alone.