Family Values

Advice given to lawyers from a general counsel at a recent panel discussion: “If there’s a family crisis or something with the kids or other clients, we don’t care about it — get the job done,” Linda Louie, general counsel for the National Hot Rod Association, told an audience of about 100 women Wednesday. “You are […]

The Price Of Oil? Homeland Security

From the Seattle Times: “America’s unchecked appetite for oil is seriously jeopardizing U.S. security, despite the billions of dollars the U.S. spends to safeguard steady access to cheap oil. Americans spend $1 billion every weekday on imported oil. Many of those dollars are used to frustrate critical U.S. diplomatic goals, underwrite terrorist organizations and finance jihadist […]

Nature Abhors A Vacuum

The Bush Administration has emptied itself of all that has been key to governing the American democratic experience: openness, accuracy, candor, debate, competence, values, charity, hope, forgiveness, ethics, the rule of law, inclusiveness, dissent, consent, shared accountability, the common good, and the greater good. They have sucked all the air out of our government and, whether […]

The Wolf At Our Door

Susie Madrak notes that Howard Zinn has written the all-too-predictable commentary about those who forget history are condemned to repeat it. “Now that most Americans no longer believe in the war”, Zinn asks, “now that they no longer trust Bush and his Administration, now that the evidence of deception has become overwhelming (so overwhelming that even the major media, […]

The Decency Line

By mid-2005, according to the Economic Policy Institue, 28% of families living in the US did not have the incomes to afford the items in EPI’s basic family budget for secure, safe and decent lives. There are 108 million households in this nation. So, 30 million familes cannot make ends meet and fall more and more […]

The Bunker

The Bush Administration has spent more than five years making close-mindedness, one-way conversation, we’re always right, no fresh facts or information, and insularity into highly predictable shared values for themselves — that is, for the answers to ‘how we do things around here in the Bush Administration”. Here’s the harvest.

Health Care and Ideology

Part of our cultural orthodoxy hates government and loves the market. It typifies the all-or-nothing, either/or-ism of our times. For the Republican Right Wing, this means: Thumbs up to markets; thumbs down to government. (It only means that in their advertising. In real life, the Republican Government of Bush and pals have piled up the […]

Principle of Disagreement

Edward Rothstein of the The NY Times has a wonderful summary and set of reflections about a recent Yale conference on strong leadership versus the popular will. Here’s my letter to him: Dear Mr. Rothstein, Thank you for the excellent report from the recent Yale conference about leadership and democracy. There is a strand — a view […]

The New Golden Rule

Over the past 36 years, the prevalence of obesity among 12 to 19 year old Americans has doubled — among children 6 to 11 it has tripled. Today, the percentage of kids who are either obese or overweight ranges from a low of 21% in Utah to 40% in Washington DC — and the average across the […]

When Decisions Are Not Enough

A number of retired military officers are calling for the resignation of Donald Rumsfeld. Meanwhile, the White House continues to support Rumsfeld with the same ‘doing a great job’ comments we’ve heard many times before, perhaps most famously applied to FEMA head Mike Brown in the wake of Katrina. Rumsfeld has certainly failed the test of performance. […]

The Dangerous Union

Today’s most dangerous union has no meeting or hiring hall, no dues, no plans for strikes and no formal organization or name. There are no workers in this union. There are folks who work. But neither their self image nor the image of them held by others would translate through the word ‘workers’. Today’s most […]

The WMD Doctrine

By now, all but the ideological zealots know that the Bush Administration ‘fixed the intelligence to fit the war’. Laying deeply flawed claims to being a “CEO presidency”, they also famously commented that they would roll out the war much like a product. And, so we might call this the WMD Doctrine: Words of Mass […]

Pendulums and Protectionism

Slate has a piece about the link between the Bush Administration’s failure in Iraq and a Congressional rush to protectionism by Ian Bremmer, President of the Eurasia Group (a firm that advises about political risk in a globalizing world). Bremer suggests that as the presidency weakens under dialy reminders of it’s mendacity and incompetence, politicians in both […]

Casualness and Swagger

“My sincere view is that the commitment of our forces to this fight was done with a casualness and swagger that are the special province of those who have never had to execute these missions–or bury the results.” So writes Lt. General Greg Newbold (Ret.) in Time magazine about the incompetence and braggadocio of the rush to […]

The Shared Idea Of Transparency

All values, including financial and economic value, reflect patterns of belief and behavior. Think, for example, about pricing. Yes, pricing derives from some balancing of costs incurred, competition and some sense of what the item in question is worth to those who might buy it. All three, though: cost, competition, worth to the customer — mirror […]

Katrina Update

I just received the quarterly newsletter from an outstanding affordable housing organization in Portland, Oregon called REACH. The Executive Director’s opening commentary included this quote from NBC TV anchor Brian Williams, made shortly after Katrina: “If this disaster doesn’t lead us into a national conversation on the subjects of class, race, urban planning, the environment …. […]

Blended Values Strategies in Food

Shareholder value fundamentalists maintain that a maniacal focus on profits is and should be the central focus of all private sector enterprise. Their credo trumps all questions of family, social, political, environmental, technological, medical, legal and other issues of values with the single question: will it promote or detract from financial/economic value? Theirs is a […]

Business Credulity

Chauncey Gardiner, better known as Chance, in Jerzi Kosinski’s contemporary classic Being There, is a man whose entire experience prior to the events of the book exist within a strange, late 20th century American Eden: gardening on the estate of his adoptive father and watching TV. Chance has not tasted the fruits of knowledge, forbidden or […]