Tuesday, March 01, 2016

Memories of the GE Attempted Takeover of Honeywell - courtesy of an anonymous Honeywell employee

The Wreck of the Mike Bonsignore

Sung to the tune of
The wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald
By Gordon Lightfoot

The legend lives on from the management on down 
Of the failed merger with GE. 
The deal it was dead and many have said 
It was killed by a man they called Monti. 
With an annual gross of twenty-eight billion or more 
Honeywell was lively and kicking. 
But many quiet men with greed cold in their veins 
Saw a business ripe for the picking. 

In Honeywell’s mind it was e-business time 
And the market was ours to be taken. 
We assembled a crew from the old and the new 
And no one caught on we were faking. 
The analysts bought in and the stock price looked good 
The money she flowed like a hydrant. 
It was part of the plan of many a sly man 
To grab a big piece of the Internet. 

So millions went out and very little came in, 
”But this seems to be how you do it”. 
”Look at the money you spent while we paid the rent”, 
Was the cry from the business units. 
With a split in the ranks and morale in the tank, 
The company was not stable. 
But from the outside, Honeywell seemed a good buy 
And GE stepped up to the table. 

When the deal went to shit and it looked desperate, 
They said “Boys, let’s try Six Sigma. 
Jack likes it best, therefore so do the rest, 
You’ll do it if you know what’s good for ya.” 
So we pissed around and we wrote some stuff down 
’Till we all knew the Black Belt story. 
While it may have been fun, by the time it was done 
Came the wreck of the Mike Bonsignore. 

Does any one know where the love of God goes 
When the big shots look at their options? 
The pundits all say he’d have made it okay, 
If he just would’ve cut forty thousand. 
When the coup came, it was bloody and fast, 
It was led by someone we knew, 
When the strings had been pulled, and the souls had been sold, 
There wasn’t much left to look up to. 

So Bossidy came and Bosignore sailed off, 
Waving sadly and wiping his eyes dry. 
”Don’t worry ‘bout me, I have more than plenty,” 
Then he laughed and he kissed us goodbye. 
”You can’t get too pissed ‘cause it’s just business”, 
But God knows it’s tough not to blame him. 
’Cause he wasted a year and a load of false cheer, 
Telling the boys that Jack Welch would save ‘em. 

In a big boardroom in Morristown they sat, 
And read the Wall Street Journal. 
The unemployment line, it grew thousands of times 
By each man and woman t’was let go. 
The legend lives on from the management on down, 
Of the failed merger with GE. 
The deal it was dead and many have said 
It was killed by a man they called Monti. 

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Pluralistic Ignorance - SA March 2013

Pluralistic Ignorance ... a psychological principle in which individual members of a group do not believe something but mistakenly believe everyone else in the group believe it. When no one speaks up, it produces a spiral of silence that can lead to everything from binge drinking on college campuses, massive doping scandals to enforcement of rigid ideologies. This is why totalitarian and theocratic leaders restrict speech and enforce an ideology. The way to break this spiral of silence is to speak out in knowledge. When enough people break the "omerta rule" - the code of silence, the individuals in the group are strengthened in their ability to speak freely and learn the truth and break bonds of repression.

Interesting material and we can see how it plays out in the Lance Armstrong doping scandal, some religious institutions, and in ideological plays from the wing nuts of the political spectrum.

Other topics discussed in SA this month:

  • Getting to the bottom - we did not always have toilet paper
  • DNA - threat to civil liberty or making our country safer?
  • Poxviruses - smallpox is gone but viral cousins are staging a comeback
  • Orange Juice devastation - invasive insect, the Asian citrus psyllid carrying HLB (Huanglongbing) is devastating orange groves across the world
  • The Origins of human creativity - exhibited 3.4 million years ago but dramatically accelerated 40,000 years ago
  • Expensive organs - as our brains got bigger (20% of energy consumption) our guts got smaller and we became less prolific
  • A democracy depends on an electorate of critical thinkers

Monday, May 28, 2012

May 28 2012 11 Mile Hike to Tom Thumb

Fran and I went on a 11 mile hike today .... phew ... a little longer than we should have but we made it all the way to "Tom Thumb" and back to the parking lot in a little over five hours.  In the first photo you can see "Tom Thumb" in the center of the photo at the top at about 5.5 miles away.  It sticks up a little taller than the other bumps along the ridge ... a little like a thumb :-)

For a five hour hike in the desert it takes a little preparation for things like ... water.  We started out with seven quarts of water and by the time we returned we had less than one left!  Fortunately, it was only 85-90 degrees otherwise if was more normal temperature like 100 degrees we would have needed to bring another quart or two and probably would not have been able to make the full hike.

This is a picture of Tom from about 1/4 mile away.  The rock stands about 80 feet tall.   I think you need to think rocks are pretty to appreciate the photo :-)  Up close it is really quite cool.  There are all kinds of volcanic rocks at the top of the ridge and they make all kinds of weird shapes.

And here is a picture of me with a few Saguaros behind me on the way back to the parking lot.  

All for now.  Hope everyone had a great three day weekend.

Sunday, April 08, 2012

April 8, 2012: Hope within History by Walter Brueggemann

Just got done reading "Hope within History" by Walter Brueggemann. It is a compendium of five discussion papers written by Brueggemann probing five specific cases in which the hope of God is affirmed or discerned in the processes of historical interaction.

The Exodus Narrative as Israel's Articulation of Faith Development (in the context of Egyptian slavery)

Critique of ideology: The present power arrangements in the empire are under judgement because they are obtained at the price of freedom and justice.
  • Israel knows that they live in a contrived world
  • The contrivance is intentional to serve special interests at the expense of others
  • Because this world is a contrivance it can be deconstructed if one has the courage and the wits to do so
  • The deconstructor is Yahweh. The Israelite shaped by the narrative is not a helpless victim but has an ally so powerful the dismantling of the empire is assured
  • The liturgical life of Israel is deconstruction
When pain is processed privately no social power is generated. This is why regimes have laws against assembly.

When pain is expressed publicly there is a release of social imagination leading to hope for the future. Torah is practice and implementation of social imagination.

The Pharaohs of the world encourage privatization for that leads to abdication and resignation in the public arena. It permits conformity in public administration

Righteousness as Power for Life
From the tradition of Moses faith transformation may be understood:
  1. Critique the dominant ideology
  2. Public embrace of pain
  3. Release of social imagination
Forming of the righteous person in a community of righteousness, responsive to God and attentive to neighbor. Righteousness is characteristically promissory, anticipatory, and eschatological. such a notion is under no illusion about the character of of things as they are, but it is never willing to settle for how the world is currently arranged. That is; the righteous one is capable of hope, intensely believes that things can and will be different from the way they are now and boldly acts on that basis and toward that hope.

The more developed faith is:
  1. More faithfully theonomous
  2. More intentionally addressed to the community
  3. More trustingly open to the future
The book of Isaiah can be broken into three parts: 1-39 (Critique), 40-55 Embrace Pain, and 56-66 Release Imagination.

Isaiah 5:16 But the Lord of hosts is exalted in justice, and the Holy God shows himself holy in righteousness (a social practice of righteousness impinges upon the character of God).

Blessed are the History Makers
Where pain becomes visible we are close to the history making process.

To what extent is the official take on events a make believe story designed positively to protect the monopoly and negatively to make the pain less visible and less dangerous. That is; a closed version of history.

III.3 History makers have the capacity and courage to disclose the human processes. The dominant voices want to close the human process in the interest of order and protection of the monopoly.

Karl Popper - history is written by the winners

Jeremiah articulates a profound sense of anguish, pathos and incongruity ... he has not succumbed to the dominant definitions of reality.

Jeremiah 7:5-7

The history maker must be attentive to:
  1. social ideology
  2. Self-deception of propaganda
  3. Narcotic effect of religion
  4. Management of moral persuasion in the interest of social monopoly
A paradigm for history makers
  1. A profound sense of anguish, ...
  2. Confidence in the moral coherence of the world
  3. Assertion of the raw sovereignty of God
  4. Capacity for discerning social analysis and criticism
  5. Bold conviction about an alternative possibility that goes under the name of hope
Who are Betty Williams and Mairead Corrigan "It is enough"

Carlos Fuentes - Reality is not the product of an ideological phantasm. It is the result of history.
  • There is no living present with a dead past
  • There is no living present without the imagination of a better world
History is the painful process of remembering, forgiving, forgetting, and moving on

Living Toward a Vision
The OT is fundamentally a literature of hope. The dominant intellectual tradition of the West is Hellenistic philosophy, that is; science, order, discernment,, understanding, and mastery and control. Order and Hope are not easily reconcilable as when in juxtaposition there is dissonance.

"Behold" .. the days are coming and the hope for SACistan is the establishment of a new social order which will embody peace, justice, freedom, equity and well being.

Isaiah 19:23-25 when Egypt, Assyria, and Israel are as brothers

Hope keeps the present system open and provisional. The present is precarious. The present cannot be absolutized. The present cannot be taken too seriously for it will change.

Hope is an immense human act which reminds us that no system of power or knowledge can finally grasp what is true.

Hope does not appear among the ...
  • managers of the status quo
  • intellectuals supporting the managers
  • oppressed ... those without voice
Hope comes from those who publicly process their pain and move through it and beyond

The Power of Hope:
  1. The function of hope is to keep the present open and provisional
  2. The natural setting of hope is among those who grieve and process it in community
  3. The enemies of hope include muteness, fulfillment and technique
The evidence of despair is:
  1. The action of terrorists
  2. The posture of conformity among those who refuse to question but are ready to embrace established official truth, both political and religious
  3. The temptation to absolutize in which critical capacity is routinely impossible in public life

Will Our Faith Have Children?
Will we be open enough, vulnerable enough, risking enough, that God may give us a future that we do not plan or control or contrive?

One of the metaphors used in Isaiah 54 when announcing against an atmosphere of despair at being in captivity for so long .. a poet uses the phrase ... the barren one will have children. Connotes that from having no future Israel will one day be a fruitful society once again.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Maui: Warren & Annabelle Magic Show - Thursday Jan 12, 2012

The Warren and Annabelle Magic Show is a highly acclaimed and recommended stop in Lahaina for dinner and a wonderful magic show. We were not disappointed! We soon learned that "Annabelle" is the 150 year old ghost of a whalers wife who so missed her husband when he never returned after a tragic shipwreck. Nightly she would stay up playing the piano as she used to when he was about to return ... hoping beyond hope that he would eventually return. Now "Annabelle" (a player piano) plays requests nightly for the crowds in a pre-show display where drinks and a light meal is served.

After diner and about an hour of music we were ushered into the 78 seat theater for a two hour magic show by Warren the master magician and entertainer. This guy is phenomenal! He is a master story teller and speaks freely on many subjects ... for example; when he learned there was a physicist in the audience he immediately went into discussions about particle theory.

He was pretty merciless at teasing many members of the audience including four couples who were placed in the front row directly next to him. Giving the men names from characters in the Andy Griffith show. "Gomer" was an Alaskan State Trouper who did not appear to like his nickname too well.

Warren went through many different card tricks, connecting of wedding rings (including mine) and even managed to make not one but two bowling balls appear out of an empty hat directly in front of the audience. Really quite amazing ... there was not the slightest flaw in his presentation and he appeared to do trick after trick that was on its face clearly impossible.

Earlier in the day we went to the beach where Fran was determined to snorkel but when we got to the beach the water turned out to be a little rougher than expected. I had been swimming each day but when I went in it was without a mask and snorkel ... just my goggles and I would quickly get 200 feet or more from shore to swim longer distances and to float to watch the coral below but I made sure I had 6-10 feet of water below me.

I made one mistake and my foot grazed the coral below and a week later I am still in discomfort from the scrapes. Very sharp stuff! I also had seen one guy get a chunk taken out of his foot from the coral and then two young women who had snorkel equipment being tumbled by the waves and hurt by the coral. It was with those thoughts in the back of my head I was quite uncertain about Fran going in and I was quite relieved when she decided not to go in. We did take one photo to show the full effect ... just for posterity.

So after a our snorkeling experience we headed back to the pool for a more gentle swim. Just before we headed back I noticed this young lady in a bikini and I just felt I should take a few photos. Amazing how Maui has these beautiful women just walking around the beach.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Maui: Haleakala Crater and Mama' Fishhouse Jan 13 2012

On Friday the 13th we changed our minds about hanging around the resort and went on a cross island excursion. The Haleakala National Park is huge and we had visited the east end when we went to the seven pools a couple days before. This time we decided we would enter the park from a different side and drive up to the summit of the largest volcano on the island. Climbing from sea level to 10,000 feet in a matter of two hours was quite a sight! It is supposed to be one of the quickest large vertical climb available on earth. We broke through the clouds at about 7,000 feet and got to see some beautiful sights looking through white fluffy clouds to the ocean below. The summit of Haleakala is quite a stark sight ... quite barren and very cold! There are some long hiking trails on the mountain and many bikers use the climb as a challenge but for us the day was spent in the car and occasionally getting out to take photos. If we make it back here I would love to sign up for "ZipLine" excursion and a downhill bicycle ride.

After leaving Haleakala National Park we went to Pa'ia which is informally known as "Surfer town" and we went to our favorite healthfood store and then a quick visit to the north shore public access point where we saw some of the craziest boogie boarding. The waves were quite large and these people were just doing wild tricks on their boards. It looked like lots of fun. This looks like another adventure for another time and from there we went to Mama's Fishhouse. Mama's is quite the upscale restaurant and consistently rated as the top restaurant on the island ... at least that is what their brochure said :-) I must say this was the most delicious, the most scenic and most expensive meal I have ever had and I would go back in a heart beat ... but this time with reservations made a day or two in advance to get the front row ocean seating!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Maui: Old Lahaina Luau Monday Jan 9 2012

Lahaina is a small town just 10 miles south of where we stayed at the Westin. It used to be the center of activity prior to western contact where chiefs and royalty gathered and were buried. After western contact it became the center of the Pacific whaling activity but now it is a tourist destination for those staying in local resorts and hotels as well as for cruise ship visitors. It really is quite pretty with it's own small harbor and beautiful mountains on the "island side" of the town.

It is also home to a beautiful banyon tree planted
over 125 years ago in the center square. The banyon is a multi-trunk tree system interconnected by branches that have cleaved into each other.

The Old Lahaina Luau is located on the old burial grounds giving it special significance. The Laua is a "traditional" laua in that it is a mixture of story telling from ancient times to the modern. The influence of the missionaries and whaling on the Hawaian culture. The food, music, story telling, and hula dancing is all wonderful. For those looking for fire dancing ... this is not the place. There are some quite good dancers and the music is also quite good but this show is more about the gentle spirit of the Hawaian people, their traditions as told through the story telling and dancing and their welcoming of all people to their land. There is a pig roasted in an underground pit and when it is brought out of the ground then the feast can start. Apparently this is quite a big deal because I could not get near it and had to settle for a photo of the people ringing the pit five deep waiting for the pig to be raised.

We sat on mats with low dining tables next to the stage. There is an option to sit in chairs at tables back further from the stage but I really enjoyed bieng so close. A couple we met at our table was from MN and it turns out they knew the CEO of Target that funded the MIM in Phoenix.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Maui: The West End Circuit Jan 8 2012

Depends who you talk to ... an insane adventure .. or just another way to get around. Without knowing either spectrum we just followed our tour book guide book recommendation that said risk was relative but in their opinion the views and side adventures were worth it. Well, we did not have time to do much of any side trips to see the various waterfalls, swimming pools and blow holes described in the guide ... but the trip was WILD!
The views were spectacular and the road was pretty wild. 57 miles to get around the west end loop but the 14 miles that were single lane and 500 feet cliffs just feet from the edge of our car were excillarating and offered views of the coastline and jungle that were beautiful! Imagine driving along at 3 miles per hour with a 500 foot cliff to your left and the side of a vertical cliff almost scraping your passenger door and then having to go around a 180 degree blind right corner ... the only thing worse would have been in the car coming the other way around the corner. That said ... I loved it :-)

The little village pictured below was about 15 miles north of our resort and is a very secluded area yet the road that traverses the coast line cuts right through it. The steep road in and through and out are all one lane and requires quite a bit of that "Aloha" spirit of cooperation to make it all work.

Maui: Whale Watching Jan 11 2012

It turns out there are 20-25,000 humpback whales in the north pacific ocean and 80% of them migrate to the islands of Hawai'i for mating and birthing their calves and a general respite from the frigid north atlantic winters. The sheltered waters around the islands of Maui - Molokaʻi - Lānaʻi - Kahoʻolawe are the winter home of many of these 40-50 ton mammals.

Fran and I went out on a tour with a total of 18 people on a small, rigid hull, inflated side wall boat. It had two 225 HP Evenrude's behind it and it could top out at 50 mph. I was worried about motion sickness but it turns out ... two hours on calm seas is about my pace and I felt fine. I took some dramamine prior to the trip just in case.

We used our old (five years) camera and it did not have the responsiveness needed to catch the whales as the lifted out of the water but we were able to catch a few pictures.

Our first whale was a juvenille that our guide estimated to be about a year old. We stayed near the juvenille for over an hour watching it breach the water on several occasions and regularly slapping the water with flukes and tail. Later in the two hour tour we found ourselves within 100-150 yards of five whales although by far our younger whale was the most active. We did have one of the older whales breach the surface and that was quite a spash but for the most part they just wanted to float and play on the surface.

In the evening we ate at Hula Grill - Kaanapali. Fran booked the reservation through her smart phone on "Open Table". Hula Grill is located in Whalers Village and overlooks the water ... the food and service were great. We spent quite a bit of time walking through the shops and along the waterfront.

Maui: The Road to Hana - Jan 10 2012

The Road to Hana is along the north shore of Maui on the eastern part of the island. Basically, you pick up the road at the main city of Kahalui and drive east for about 40 miles. Along the way you see beautiful unspoiled shoreline, surfers, tropical rainforest where they get over 300 inches of rain a year, as well as many beautiful beaches and waterfalls. The guidebook said it is compared to driving through the garden of Eden. The most famous and desired drive in all Hawai'i. I must say ... it was pretty awesome.

We left our Westin Ka'anapali location on the West side of Maui around 7AM and did not return until about 7PM. A pretty exhausting day but we made the trip and although tired when finished we were quite satisfied in making the drive and we got to stop and take many pictures and spent and a fair amount of time in a few beautiful locations along the way. There is no way we could see everything so we had to pick and choose and even then we could not get to several of the "must see" locations.

Our first major stop (other than for photos and a snack) was at the far end of our travel route at Haleakala National Park, the last stop before we would have swing south on route 360 into the southern arid lands of eastern Maui. There we entered a beautiful little world of waterfalls and reshwater pools called Ohe'o Gulch or better known in the marketing materials as the "7 Sacred Pools". That's me swimming in one of the lower pools.

Wai'anapanapa Black Sand Beach near mile marker 32. Fresh water cave, ocean blow hole and black sand beach.

Kaihalulu Red Sand Beach just south of Hana Bay. Hard to get to, marginal swimming, and marginal snorkling but wow is this a beautiful spot.

Seven Sacred Pools, part of the Haleakala National Park. The owner of the Hotel Hana Maui wanted to desperately attract people to the east end of the island so he had a choice ... he could have told people to visit the "Ohe'o Gulch" or the wonderous "Seven Sacred Pools". and even though there are not seven pools and it was not sacred land marketing won out and the brochures have ever since had the more attractive namesake. The Hotel Hana owner Sam Pryor was going to buy the land near the pools for a house but then recognizing how important they were to the local population her got together a few of his friends to buy the land and donate it to the national park system. After a short walk from the parking lot Fran and I were able to walk across a few stones and then have an absolutely stunning view of the cascading water coming off the mountain and dropping through multiple falls to the ocean below. This is quite a swimming hole! I was able to get a few swimming laps in our time there before wrapping up and heading back for our journer home retracing our steps on the north side of the island.

After finishing the wildly curvy road through the rain forest and before heading back to the Westin we stopped in the little windsurfing town of Pa'ia. It is a throw back to the 1960's ... plenty of quirky stores and people ... many of the people look like they still lived in the 1960's and their children also had a little of that look. OK ... maybe I exaggerate a little ... but not much :-) Even the health food store we stopped in was a throw back in time ... absolutely non-descript store front but inside was an amazing mixture of organic foods, vegetarian dishes, bathing suits, fresh fruit, dry bulk food, and candles. And it all worked held together by some pretty dedicated people focused on providing great service and awesome foods in an eclectic way.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Beginner's Guide to Twitter

I only have two friends who follow me on Twitter .. my one friend 612 who follows me only to humor me and does not believe it yet but Twitter will be in our future! Read below!

Beginner's Guide to Twitter

Joel Comm

Everyone seems to be atwitter about Twitter. The free online service lets users send and receive very short messages -- no longer than 140 characters apiece. A typical Twitter message, known as a "tweet," might provide a quick update on what you’re doing or request help with a problem. Users post tweets to a personal Web page from their cell phones, PDAs or computers. How Twitter can be useful and how to sign up...


To use Twitter in your personal life...

Keep friends and family updated on your life when you don’t have the time or inclination to call or e-mail. You might tweet, "We arrived home safely from our trip"... or, "The car’s running again. It was just a fuse."

Real-life tweet: A passenger on a plane that skidded off a Denver runway last winter used his cell phone to tweet about the event moments after it occurred. His friends never had to worry about his safety, because they got his tweet and learned that he was unharmed before the incident was reported in the media.

Arrange social activities, even at the last minute. Rather than place dozens of calls to find someone who is free, send out a single tweet. This tweet might read, "I’m going fishing. Anyone want to join me?"

Real-life tweet: Basketball star Shaquille O’Neal used Twitter to inform his friends and fans that he was sitting down to dinner alone in Phoenix. A pair of local basketball fans drove to the diner and hung out with him.

Solicit opinions, advice or assistance on short notice. You could tweet, "Can anyone suggest a good place for dinner in Albany?"... or, "My car broke down in Portland. Can anyone recommend a good mechanic?"


To use Twitter in your professional life...

Keep colleagues and clients up-to-date about schedules and plans. You could tweet, "Any customer expecting a service call today will receive one by 5:00 pm despite the snow" or, "My flight was delayed. Can someone stand in for me at this afternoon’s meeting?"

Search for tweets about your company, industry or products written by other Twitter users, then provide fast feedback. A plumber might offer responses to plumbing-related questions to build goodwill with customers. A manufacturer might respond to a complaint about a product with troubleshooting tips, turning negative buzz about the product into positive buzz about the company’s customer service.

For example, cable company Comcast has a customer service employee monitor Twitter for mentions of Comcast and respond quickly.

The Web site TweetBeep (http://tweetbeep.com) and Twitter’s own search page (http://search.twitter.com) can help you find relevant tweets.

Show clients and potential clients the person behind the business.Customers are more likely to trust you if they believe that they know you and like you as a person. To build this human connection, tweet about your hobbies... your charitable work... or your company’s softball game, in addition to your business and products.


Twitter is easy to use. Visit www.twitter.com, click "New to Twitter? Join today" and follow the simple directions.

E-mail a link to your Twitter Web page to keep friends, family, colleagues and clients posted on your life or business. You can find people to follow by clicking on "Find People" from your Twitter home page.

Warning: Click "Settings," then check the box by "Protect my updates" on your Twitter account page if you want to maintain control over who reads your tweets. Leave this unchecked only if you do not expect to share sensitive information and would like to reach strangers as well as friends. Always be careful. If you are going to be out of town for a few weeks, you may not want to tweet about that if everyone can read your posts.

You also can choose to receive tweets from individuals on your cell phone. Though Twitter is free, your service provider may charge you when you send or receive messages from your phone depending on your plan.

Bottom Line/Personal interviewed Joel Comm, an Internet entrepreneur, Loveland, Colorado, who has helped found such Web sites as WorldVillage.com andClassicGames.com (now Yahoo! Games). He is author of Twitter Power: How to Dominate Your Market One Tweet at a Time (Wiley). www.twitterpower.com

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Our Three Week House Refresh: April 19th - May 6th, 2011

It took 12 years but Fran and I finally took the plunge of replacing a few nooks put in place by the developer of our house back in 1999. I could start to see the handwriting on the wall as appliances started failing this past year ... but the kicker to get moving was the seemingly innocuous replacement of our 1999 model TV with a big screen TV in February. The new TV would not fit in the nooks so we had to buy a stand for the TV to sit on at the far end if the family room but now the nooks that had looked so quaint 10 years ago did not look so quaint anymore.

So we got a bid to replace the nooks and the artist rendering looked pretty nice so we went ahead with it and while we were at it the design grew to include granite ( a special sale of course :-) countertops, new appliances and an expansion of our pantry to go under our stairs.

All in all the folks at the remodeling company did a great job. The workers from all the various trades were courteous and conscientious and while the job ended up taking a little longer and definitely more expensive than we planned going in the work turned out great and we are quite pleased with the result.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

March 10 2011: Interesting Comments by Conference Speaker

I attended an industry conference on March 10th and the key note speaker was interesting enough that I thought I would write a little blog article to share and look back on 1-2 years from now.

Ken Krieg was the DoD Under Secretary for Acquisition under Don Rumsfeld during the Bush administration. He currently works in the private sector as a consultant with Renaissance Strategic Advisers ... advising clients how to survive the expected downsizing of the DoD. He was quite knowledgeable and his presentation was stocked with data about government spending and quite a few observations about political behavior and citizen behavior. In short we are headed for a near financial catastrophe if not actually achieving that state due to our gridlock in congress.

  1. Americans want lower taxes. In general since WWII our federal tax receipts have ranged between 16-21% of GDP.
  2. Americans want higher benefits. In general expenditures since WWII have been 18-25% of GDP.
  3. Entitlements grew from 5.8% of GDP in 1962 to 15% in 2011
  4. U.S. deficit in 2011 is projected at 11% of GDP and total debt is projected to be about $21T by 2016
  5. The U.S. debt portfolio carries an average interest rate of 3% with an average term of 57 months. The average rate from 1970 to 2009 was 6.2%. If we move back to the average of 6% that means the U.S. will need to come up with an additional $400-500B just to pay the incremental interest. This will have to come from either entitlement cuts or new taxes as interest on the debt gets paid first.
  6. DoD expenditures including Afghanistan and Iraq total about $700B. In CY $ there have been three major up and down DoD expenditure cycles since 1952. Each cycle (17, 17, and 25) has had a high of $550B and a low of $350B so the current $700B has broken out of the norms we have experienced during the last 60 years. This makes the current budget and in particular the expenditures for new weapons platforms extremely vulnerable to cuts. In addition the public support for two war efforts will likely not be there when faced with higher taxes or cuts to entitlements. Ken's projection is DoD will get cut back to $550B on the high side and low side of $400B. Those suppliers seeking to move from DoD to HLS contracts are in for a surprise ... the total HLS budget is only $40B ... implying there is going to be significant consolidation and drives for efficiency across the DoD supplier base. During the last major DoD downturn (1990 - 1995) top line DoD budget shrank 23% but procurement shrank 52%. Implications were a decade of corporate consolidations, no hiring and reduced maintenance.
  7. DoD procurement is cash basis and subject to available budget. Entitlements are the only portion of the budget not subject to annual voting ... the bills come in and they get paid.
  8. Ken's prediction. Continuing resolutions will be passed for the remainder of this fiscal year (six months) but more concerning is the budget process is so hosed up and with 8 senators retiring the electioneering will be crazy with no great incentive to pass a budget resulting in continuing resolutions through the 2012 fiscal year. CRs result in government agencies being constrained to what they spent in the prior FY with very little flexibility unless authorized by congress.
  9. During Ken's entire time in office even though he was accountable for performance versus schedule and budget and he regularly got grilled on this where he got the most heat from congress was with respect to jobs in "my district"
  10. Ash Carter is the current Under Secretary for Acquisition and his mantra is "Do More without More" ... he will be seeking restructuring of primes and driving out redundant operations from prior mergers. He will also be seeking more FFP versus CP or T&M contracts on major programs. CP and T&M puts the risk on the government ... we need to move to a better balance of risk sharing. Also, being "big" may not be an advantage going forward ... the DoD will be seeking lean, smart, agile companies that deliver breakthrough products at breakthrough prices.
  11. Question? Has the all volunteer force been a factor in extending the DoD up down budget cycle from 17 years out to the current 25 years? A. During draft times more citizenry had a stake in where our soldiers were sent, they were not paid much and when we did not need them we sent them home. The all volunteer force is highly professional, well educated and well trained and excellent candidates for leadership roles in industry after their service. This does appear to have created a slight disconnect between our broad citizenry having a direct stake in military outcomes. Another factor may be that most volunteers come from red states.
  12. Question? Will DoD programs be getting more scrutiny in these tight budget times? A. Yes. Expect much more emphasis on audits and compliance. Unfortunately, this only assures that people are doing what they agreed to do ... not necessarily what is the right thing. Opportunities for improving results after a contract award are typically not highly rewarded. IG & DCAA are box checkers they are not partners in performance for doing more with less.
  13. Question? When will entitlements be addressed in this budget cycle? A. No. entitlements will be fixed only when we as a country face a budget crisis. Americans tend to respond to crisis ... only issue is the market determines the interest rates so we have less control than we think. For 50 years Americans have been told they are great and can have as much cake as they want ... it has elevated our lifestyle but it is a borrowed lifestyle. Someone ... actually several senior political leaders ... are needed to lead and be blunt with our population ... we are getting older, we are not healthy, and the baby boomer generation is spending the younger generation's money before they die and then leaving them the remaining bills. Unfortunately, without a financial crisis and a cause to focus on the common good, no elected politicians will have the courage to say raise taxes or cut back on what people think of as things they are entitled to.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Enneagram February 11-12, 2011

Fran and I attended an Enneagram session led by well known author and theologian Richard Rohr on Friday evening and all day Saturday February 11th and 12th. This is the first time we have done something like this but I hope we continue this journey of self-discovery.

The "Enneagram" ... roughly translates as "nine drawing". OK, a little too rough ... the Enneagram is a circle drawing with nine points on it representing the ways in which nine different personality types perceive and defend their realities. More like "nine ideas". The Enneagram and supporting tools help us recognize who we are on this spectrum of nine personality types and with work examines whether we are living trapped within ourselves or free from self-imposed constraints. Spiritual directors have used it for centuries to recognize personalities and their very predictable behaviors ... a tool to quickly assess individuals and groups.

If you have ever taken the Myers Briggs personality assessment you will catch on to the beginning of what it means to know your Enneagram personality type. While Myers Briggs helps us understand the motivations of others and how we may optimize our interactions the thought process behind the Enneagram goes much deeper and is a tool that has the potential to change how you approach life. If taught and received it will lead to accepting others, greater compassion, and better living.

Feb 11th Friday night:

Our personalities according to Rohr are 1/3 nature, 1/3 nurture and 1/3 choice and we all have blinders ... to see what our ego lets us see and excluding things we are not predisposed to. Even if we can see that our personality and behavior causes us pain and makes us miserable the ego will resist change.

No one consciously does evil but what we do in our self-centered ego driven world is to rationalize the behavior as good. A dualistic thinking often drives us ... things are either good or bad ... right or wrong. The true key to life is to transcend dualistic thinking and moving to a higher plane of thought ... contemplative thinking.

Rohr mentioned a couple passages from the bible;

1] In Genesis when God told Adam & Eve they could eat from any tree in the garden but not to eat from the tree of good and evil ... this metaphorically can be looked at as being warned from the beginning not to be judgmental of each other. As we gained knowledge human beings especially religious types have used their knowledge to judge others. This is contrasted with Jesus and his actions ... he was not angry with sinners but with those who denied being sinners.

2] In Philippians 3 the apostle Paul was an example of the first personality a person who behaves based on gut instinct and is a perfectionist. Paul (Saul at the time) was a person driven by compulsion to be the best at what he did and rewarded by his society for being so. He was compliant to the dominant culture until his conversion.

We have a "Home Base" ... either Instinct (from the gut, internalized), Intellectual (we think our way through) or Emotional (masters of building or destroying relationships ... takes on the needs of others). Within each of these home bases and the three personality types within each we are either compulsive (trapped within) or redeemed (freed from our demons). Unless we tame our demons we will never know our angels. Our goal no matter what personality type we are is to move to a redeemed state.

All humans are "wounded" in their feeling function ... we feel incorrectly. As humans we have an enormous capacity to misjudge others.

Rohr told a telling and somewhat humorous story .... when Mother Theresa died there was a tremendous void in the 1,000+ order of nuns she left behind. They were beside themselves and the Cardinal of Calcutta called Richard. He had heard of Richard as someone who may be able to help. Richard spent three weeks in Calcutta speaking to the order and helping them work through their grief and developing new leaders to take the place of Theresa. Mother Theresa was an "8" a personality that takes charge but she had not developed leaders to take her place when she was gone. The Cardinal told the story of how she would pound on his door in the middle of the night to demand his attention and tell of things the poor needed. Then there was the businessman who told Richard the story of how Mother Theresa came to his door and told him that God told her that he was to give her his factory for the production of things for the poor ... and the man gave her his factory. Such is the power of the convicted "8" personality.

Rohr lamented the state of our national discourse ... infantile. To him, with all the churches we have in the US, it means that churches are not doing a good job helping people move beyond the infantile thinking. From a quote attributed to Carl Jung ... 95% of the people live their lives 95% unconscious.

Next came an overview of Personality Types:

Type 1: The Perfectionist, the good little boy or girl, be on time, be good, be clean. Life is serious filled with problems to be solved. Tired of being critical. Your face and body and movement take the Type 1. This was SO evident in the panel session when four Type 1’s were called up. Their body language, the set of their faces and their movements were rigid and stern. Jesus did not focus on order he focused on the sinner. Our church has been led by 1’s in its history creating rigidity and rules about right and wrong dualistic thinking.

Country - Switzerland

Animal - The Barking Dog, The Working Ant

Sin - Resentment, Virtue - Serenity

Type 1’s & 6’s who emphasized original sin and moralism have taught the Christian tradition. This has led to rules, guilt and people judging each other. Richard joined the Franciscans and was mentored by a "7" ... a leader that emphasized a loving relationship with God and each other.

Type 2: The Giver. The natural servants of the world who gives generously but makes you feel they are doing so because they must. The keep interior lists to show them how superior they are and what you owe me because of what I gave you. They take on other peoples needs. Repress their own needs and they don’t even know their own needs.

Country - Italy

Animal - Licking Puppy

Sin - Pride, Virtue - Humility

The game is over for a 2 when they realize they do things not because they love others but because they want to be loved.

February 12th, 2011: Saturday morning

Type 3: The Performer. Often handsome / pretty, good build, the camelian, effective. Cry easily. Wounded in the feeling function. They have other people’s feelings. Embroider the truth. Achievement oriented. The children of 3’s that are most like the parent have difficulty.

Dresses to expectations. America is the "3" country ... we know how to look good, we manicure the truth, we mirror the best qualities the group wants to embody. But this is also how the world views America … i.e. as posers.

Country - America, Israel

Animal - Race Horse

Sin - Deceit, Virtue – Integrity

Pragmatism – if it works it must be true. Deeper principles are not needed as effectiveness is truth. Revelation requires a failure. Good efficiency experts. Drama queen. Sante Fe is the capital of 4dom.

Type 4: The Romantic. Be classy. Grease the wheels of life. Do not be like others. Will not conform and they need to be special. Love black. 4s built Americas movie industry. Love the metaphor of reality more than reality. They are serious about their creativity. Japan is highly ritual and elegant. Esthetic perfectionist. Love depth and search for self-understanding. It is a burden to have the best taste in the room. Their whole life is in search of their authentic self. 4’s have a natural eye for ritual and art. The ritual allows depth. Tragedy and sadness is where special ness and creativity are found. Almost nothing can shock a 4. Sharing experiences and mistakes and failures is a way a 4 can relate to you.

Country - Japan, France

Animal – Peacock

Sin – Envy, Virtue – Equanimity (calm non-dualistic thinking)

Type 5: The Observer – the world is a dangerous place. A mistress of perception. Relishes gathering of books, ideas, knowledge and a mania for research. Appear as nerds and emotionally stingy and giving of self. Avoidance of engagement and intimacy. Need private space. Good powers of observation and clarity of thought and objectivity. Calm clear-headed advice. It is important for a 5 to know the answer. The eye is the center of gravity. An inordinate number wear glasses. Good observers of inner self. Will provide way more data than necessary. 4s and 5s often do not get along … marriage not recommended. Thomas Mertens a very influential catholic author was a 5 with a strong 4 wing.

Country – British Isles

Animal – Barn Owl

Sin – Detachment, Virtue – Detachment

Type 6: The Loyal Skeptic – very difficult to go against authority. Rohr estimates that 50% of all people are 6’s and 25% are 9’s. Head people personified. They try to control everything by thinking. Fear is controlled by the head of the institution (Politicians, Fox News, Catholicism, Islam, Hitler) … top down driven fear plays well to 6’s and they respond to this type of message. 6’s glorify things and weapons to defend oneself. War economics are driven by 6’s. The “Phobic 6” is always running from fear and they do what they are told; faithful, humble, loyal, responsible, they always are looking for needs of others. The “Counter Phobic 6” charges when threatened. Daredevils charge into their fear. Total loyalists, my religion versus yours. GW Bush was a CP6 – limited on flexibility of options. Did you know “be not afraid” is the most mentioned phrase in the bible? The biggest sin / demon is unnamed for what it is – fear. Conversion requires operating out of different channels. Wonderful, stalwart, faithful personalities if converted to operate out of their virtue - courage. Conversion of the 6 requires pairing the 6 with good leadership. If they are continually around paranoid, anxious people they will not convert. Phobic 6’s ask endless questions to be clear and to address anxiety. Most naturally humble. Reliable, loyal, the glue to society.

Country – Germany

Animal – Mouse Deer, Rhinoceros

Sin – Fear, Virtue – Courage

Type 7: The Epicure – Avoids the downside of everything. Dualistic thinker. Eliminate the boring. Fill the world with endless possibilities. Normally extroverted but can be introvert. Everyone else can be down but a 7 will keep everyone up. They don’t age like everyone else. The classic hedonist. The fun is in the planning for the event …not the event. St Francis of Assisi was a 7 with a positive worldview but overdid the asceticism to compensate. When the panel of four 7’s got on stage they were beaming from ear to ear and ever optimistic.

Country – Brazil, Philippines

Animal – Otter, Butterfly

Sin – Gluttonous for fun and excitement and don’t know how to stop, Virtue – Joy

Type 8: The Protector – passionate, juice drives to reality, going for broke, appears to others as overstating the case. 8’s love to expose pretentious behavior and can make many angry. Angry at injustice. Endless passion for those on margins. Most revolutionaries and reformers are 8’s. They can walk into the room and sense where the power is … they want to take that power. 8’s create change. Oppressed cities and countries produce an inordinate number of 8’s and counter phobic 6’s. Men are more accepted as 8’s than women. 8’s at their worst revel in violence. Killing of the bull in Spain is the archetypical 8 behavior. Liberation theology came from the critique of power. When the panel of four 8’s got on stage their body type (big & heavy) was very evident. Physically they were bigger than every other group and talked in terms of dominating.

Country – Spain

Animal – Bull

Sin – Lust, Virtue – Passion that can be confused and interpreted as anger

Type 9: The Mediator – It is not OK to assert oneself. At the top of the circle, Passive /Aggressive. Motivation is to harmonize but that can look like weakness. Refuse to get flustered, tone down the energy. By temperament do not have enemies. They do a lot but can be called lazy, as they do not engage at the same level as a 3. Lots of unhealthy 9’s go along they join in to participate in groups. They need to be woken up and educated. A high percentage of alcoholics and those in jail are 9’s. They avoid doing. Awakened and educated 9’s multi-task and are high performing. The wings are 1’s and 8’s and if developed lead to highly effective focused, harmonizing 9’s. 6’s and 9’s are the most humble of people. Not a self-initiator. The Type 9 with their low energy are often left out of the conversation.

Country – Indigenous people

Animal – Donkey, Elephant

Sin – Lazy, Virtue – Decisive Action

Arizona has been elevated on the national stage as a state of hate, intolerance, and ignorance. AZ politicians are illustrative of the last gasp of the white male hierarchical structure.

The Albuquerque Enneagram program focuses on male change. The Enneagram accesses the male psyche like no other – Thought… possible connection to males who perpetuate domestic violence?