Impotency of our Democracy

The U.S. democracy is severely broken. 

We are supposed to be “one out of many,” but instead we are many out of one.

There is a tearing at our nation’s fabric. 


Resistance.  Obstruction.  Polarization.  Gridlock.  Shutdown.  Identity Politics.  Hating on each other.  Can’t get anything done. 


Legislatively we’re at an impasse.


It’s not just the border wall…


– No full year (let alone multi-year) budgets for all Federal agencies.


– No Healthcare Fix


– No Immigration Reform


– No Education (STEM) Improvement


– No USA Infrastructure Bill 


– We are losing our edge to a resurgent Russia and a China taking world stage militarily and economically. 


Executive Branch has its hands tied. 


Special Counsels.  Congressional Inquiries.  Judicial injunctions.  Media Lynchings.


Alone.  Thwarted.  Unable to lead or act. 


Presidential hand tied by mommy Pelosi and Daddy Schumer.


State of the Union cancelled. 


Presidency is compromised in the eyes of every national competitor and demagogue in the world. 


Without a strong leadership reestablished and permitted to act, we are running a very strong risk of losing our superpower status and becoming just another has-been nation.


Don’t think it can’t happen.  


The three branches of the government should be working together and helping each other to strengthen our nation’s survival, prosperity, and success.


If we don’t stop the madness, then we will implode and it won’t be a pretty or a happy day for anyone–Democrats or Republicans. 


Last chance for E. Pluribus Unum.  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

What Does A Government Shutdown Feel Like

So its day 18 of the Federal government shutdown. 


The first couple of weeks wasn’t so bad, because it was the holidays and vacation time (“use or lose”), so I think most people didn’t miss work that much. 


Also, people got paid at the end of December, since the pay cycle is on a two week lag.  


For the first part of the shutdown, there is errands to run and things to catch up on–those things that you always wish you had the time for and well now you do. 


But by now, you’ve already done those errands and cleaned your house and car, shinned up your shoes, and even caught up on some reading. 


Then we also have the missed payroll coming at the end of the week. For those families that are on a single income, this is particularly hard, and even where one partner is working, still your income in cut in half. 


You can’t go out shopping like this!


You also can’t go anywhere–like away–because you need to be available to be back at work on a day’s notice–whether or not it looks like that day is ever coming or not!


Another concern for those that care about their work and getting things accomplished, is that work is like a moving train, and when there is momentum, things can get done–even at the “pace of government.”  But when you come to a full stop like this for an extended period of time, then it will definitely take some time to get everyone back on board the train and for it to get moving at a decent clip again.  Let’s face it, you can’t just turn people on and off like a light switch–you’re dealing with human beings with feelings, plans, and bills. 

Maybe the worst part about the shutdown is feeling like a pawn in the big boys and girls game of Washington Politics–even if you feel the border wall is important, which I certainly do, as federal employee, you still don’t want to feel like the sacrificial lamb. 


Why Congress and the President can’t compromise and give the $5 billion for the wall for something in return like immigration reform or even just give half and call it a day is really beyond my comprehension. 


Out of our $4.4 trillion a year federal budget, how does it make any sense to begrudge a couple of billion for a wall to bring order to the chaos at our southern border–can anyway say “caravan?” 


Let’s face it, drug smuggling, human trafficking, dangerous gangs and terrorists, and illegal crossings have no place in a civilized country, especially the United States of America.  


At some point, our politicians seem to have lost their passion for and dedication to what’s actually good for America and instead replaced it with identity politics and a sick insatiable greed for power, plain and simple. 


All sides need to be patriots and not political kingpins, and they need to give a little to get a little for the betterment of our country overall–maybe then we can move forward. 


And by the way, it would be great at some point to let us go back to work and do our jobs. 😉 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Election Day Dead 2018

This just seemed so perfect for election day this year. 


With the country torn asunder between left and right. 


We are the grateful dead of the U.S. of A. 


– Our political system is stymied and our representatives are only self-minded. 


The integrity of our founding fathers has vanished and last century’s great national hope has languished. 


Cause the liberals hate the conservatives. 


And the conservatives hate the liberals. 


All of my folks hate all of your folks, and everyone blames the Jews.  


– The Constitution has become malarkey, and the Bill of Rights now makes people snarky. 


Polarization and they’re a lyin’, fake news and no one is even tryin’.


It’s either my way or the highway, and everyone else can go to h*ll. 


– Throw a fit and curse your neighbor, chase the opposition to the wayward. 


Know that threats and violence are better than silence, and resistance means persistence. 


How could this have even happened, and you’re all on the wrong side of history.


– Are we making things great, and they’re only about hate.


Or are they racist deplorables, and we’re the self-righteous ennobles.


From the economy to trade wars, and from immigration to healthcare.


Why is it that we can’t listen, negotiate, compromise, and play fair.


– I don’t know why we’re even having an election.


When we only want to defeat the opposition.


Cause the Democrats hate the Republicans.


And the Republicans hate the Democrats.


All of the Obamanicks hate the Trumpeans, and vice versa is certainly true too.


– It’s up to everyone to put the country first and stop the bickering and the hate.


Practice patriotism and nationalism, tear down the walls so progress does not stall.


No one is all right and no one is all wrong, instead we’ve got to come together and just let everyone belong.


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

We Have Become Our Own Worst Enemies

The politics have gotten worse than ever again.

Since 2008 and Obama’s left-wing tilt followed by Hillary’s election debacle and Donald Trump’s upset win, what have we seen:

– Resistance

– Violent Marches

– Extremism From Nazis And ANTIFA

– Photos Of Decapitation

– Threats To Blow Up The White House

– Chasing Politicians From Restaurants

– Stealing Questions From Debates

– Secret Dossiers

– Smear Campaigns

– Special Counsels

– Sanctuary Cities

– Lies and Obfuscation

– Endless Challenges and Lawsuits

– Pay Freezes

– Government Shutdowns

– Stalled Legislation For Healthcare, Immigration, And more

– Screams for Impeachment

– Possible Planning of a Coup

– Talk of states seceding or even of another Civil War

Folks, what are we doing?

You’re gonna justify the means with the ends?

However, what are the ends so far and in the foreseeable future.

Nothing productive can get done politically or otherwise this way.

One side wins and the other throws a temper tantrum and stonewalls and then in reverse.

There is world instability from Russia to China, North Korea, and Iran, as well as violence and refugees from Syria to Sudan, Somalia, Myanmar, Iraq, and Afghanistan

The economic boom may very well end up an economic bust when it comes time to pay the humongous national deficit bill.

We are eating each other alive instead of creating a better world order.

Extremism begets extremism.

Hate begets hate.

You can tell yourself that you are fighting for what is right — both sides do — but perhaps you are destroying much more than you are building.

Things have gone too far and this country is self-destructing with or without Russian intervention.

We have become our own worst enemies. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Snowflakes Are Unique

Thought this was an interesting analogy. 


A colleague refers to some customers as snowflakes.


At first, I didn’t get it. 


Then I understood. 


Every snowflake is unique. 


Based on how the ice crystals fall to the ground through different temperatures, moisture levels, and atmospheric pressures, the shape of every snowflake is different. 


Sometimes when it comes to project management, customers too think they are unique, different, and special.


They think that solutions that work industry- or enterprise-wide could never work for them and their wholly distinct ways of doing business. 


Hence, as I learned, the term snowflake. 


For those of us who have been around the project management block a few times, we know that while there are specific customer requirements, most of them are not all that unique. 


And when some customers simply don’t want to do things differently than they’ve done it before, there can be greater resistance to change. 


Hence, the “We’re special. We’re different” reframe along with the standoffishness, doubting, circling the wagons, throwing up obstacles, or just refusing to fully participate. 


Obviously, it’s a lot more difficult to modernize and transform through technology and business process re-engineering when your customers aren’t on board. 


So it is critical to manage organizational change, address the questions, the fears, and elements that are truly unique, and bring the people along as true partners. 


Not every requirement is a snowflake and neither is every customer, but we have to manage the similarities and differences in every project and make sure it improves performance and meets the needs of the customer and the organization. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Politics On A Cow

I saw this “Antifa” (Anti-Fascist) symbol on this painting of a cow in Washington, D.C. 


As a child of Holocaust survivors, I certainly understand and can even sympathize with the view of the anti-fascist movement–certainly, we should all unequivocally appreciate, love, and want to protect freedom and human rights!


However, I think throwing around labels like fascist, perhaps where it is more about political disagreements doesn’t help to identify the really bad actors out there in the world and what they can and even would like to do to harm all of us. 


Anyway, I am pretty sure that this cow is no fascist.


I would also like to say that the red and black with this symbol here is way too close to looking like how the genocidal Nazi’s themselves portrayed the dreaded and infamous swastika in red and black.  


It would be great if we use symbols and labels carefully, and let the cows go back to being cows. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

@Takoma Park Folk Festival

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So today we were at the Takoma Park Folk Festival. 


It was a combination of food, chachkas, art, dance, and music–thank G-d, it was a good time!


When we were going through the booths, I came across this one artist pictured here. 


A little scary looking at first, but actually seemed nice enough and he stopped to speak with us. 


I asked about his very cool jacket.


And he told me, how he had actually made it with all the artistic things on it, including spikes, skulls, medals, patches, and even a pair of teeth!


Then he took off his jacket and turned around to show me his vest. 


On the back was this awesome fighting foe.


I said feigning surprise:

“Oh, and it says RESIST on top?”


He replies:

“Yeah, never miss an opportunity to share a message!”


I thought to myself this guy is pretty smart, especially as he started to explain not only his jacket, but the meanings behind some of his other artwork. 


Creativity is a wonderful thing–especially when no one gets hurt :-)–and it immediately sparks interest and dialogue.


How’d you do that?  What gave you that idea?  How do you use it?


The boring becomes exciting when another soul expresses itself. 


Yes, we’re all the same, but also we’re all different!


It’s by “going there,” you explore and learn new things.  😉 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)