Not home, but close…

I’ll be back in the DC area for the weekend… Unfortunately, I’ll be stuck in a class the whole time I’m there. Something seems wrong with the first trip back to MD since December being to take a class. The next stretch of time off will be the end of March, and I’m happy to say I’ll be enjoying coffee and gelato in Italy.

So, when everyone is enjoying their weekend think of us poor federal workers stuck at the office. I wish I knew the bastard that started the rumor about government employees never doing anything ‘cause I want to punch him directly in the nose.

If…

If I’m ever in a position to direct the work of others, I will not walk off at “quitting time” because I have an itch to start my three day weekend and leave my people holding the bag on a project that I am responsible for delivering on Monday.

Conversely, when in a position to be directed by others, I will not let the mission fail because of poor leadership from those providing the direction.

Ugly Mug…

One of the side benefits of having an extensive road schedule is being able to sample great locally produced coffees. Several producers from Kona still top my “best of” list, but the downside is that a pound of most pure-Kona coffees will set you back $20-30. As much as I love coffee, even I’m too cheap to brew that on a daily basis.

Here in Memphis, I have found a local company, that I highly recommend. At the moment, I am enjoying the just-brewed goodness of their Southern Pecan offering. If you’re looking for a cup of coffee that is highly drinkable, but won’t break the bank, check out the Ugly Mug Coffee Co.

If you’re a fan of good coffee, order a bag. I think you’ll be pleased.

Schism…

I always assumed that the next great rift in this country would split along socio-economic lines, but the more I take a long, careful look at the current situation, I believe I see another, potentially more disturbing fracture looming. Given the recent (though somewhat farcical) procedural votes that have taken place in the Congress, I can see a scenario that would have Congress cutting off funds for the war and a president who would in all likelihood ignore that particular legislative prerogative and carry on the war effort. With the executive and the Congress both in the hands of ideological extremists, it does set an interesting stage for what could be not just a Constitutional crisis, but a systemic meltdown in which the system of checks and balances would cease to function. I’ve studied enough history to know that schism between the executive and the legislative is often the furnace where civil wars are forged. While I don’t think our military is busy choosing sides just yet, late at night that is one of the thoughts keeps me awake just a little bit longer.

While I’m on this particular topic, I have to say that it is incumbent upon the Congress of the United States to fully fund the men and women in harms way. Cutting funding for the troops is not only short sighted policy, but also a political mistake. Imagine being a candidate and facing a row of cameras when the first question is going to be “Why didn’t you support our troops?” For good or ill, that’s how the question will be framed. Maybe with more style, but every time, that is going to be the substance of the question.

Resisting Temptation…

Up until now, I have resisted the temptation to comment on Anna Nicole, not so much out of a sense of respect for the dead as out of a belief that it isn’t an event really worth noting as anything more than a passing way. The incessant and insipid coverage in the major media outlets has been nothing short of remarkable for someone whose major contribution to society was getting naked on film and marrying and elderly billionaire.

Am I missing something here? Are we, as a society, truly this vapid? We are a nation at war, beset by foes abroad and at home. A nation racked by both personal and public debts. A nation facing the most serious public policy disputes since Herbert Hoover sat in the White House. And yet, somehow, a dead c-list celebrity has managed to grind the news-cycle to a halt for the last week.

Stop me if I’m wrong here, but does anyone else see a flaw in our collective priorities?

Peaceful, easy feeling…

There really isn’t anything I feel compelled to bitch and complain about at the moment… or more specifically nothing I feel compelled to bitch and complain about with the world as an audience.

All things considered, I’m finding myself remarkably well satisfied. One fairly significant loose end I am working to tie up on the personal side of things, but work is settling into a (somewhat intense) routine and everything else is falling into place. Everything isn’t what I anticipated, but it seems to be alright.

The things we sacrifice…

I’m reminded tonight of that which we give up in order to get the other things we want. As I recall, in economics, this idea of tradeoffs is partially defended as opportunity cost; the cost of the thing we forgo to achieve the next best option. Life is a tradeoff for all of us. Making one decision influences and determines what other decisions we will have the opportunity to make in the future; way piles on to way and what is lost is why we headed down our particular path in the first place.

Do you suppose we ever go so far in one direction that other options are closed off forever? The opportunity cost for our actions becoming an absolute? Is there some great moment of realization where each of our false steps is illuminated? Is there room for contrition? Or will self-recriminations and doubt end in the light of day?