Framing the Dialogue

Archive for March, 2009

Trillion (tril – yen)

Trillion is defined as:

“a number represented by 1 followed by 12 zeros or an indefinite but very large number.”

It seems like the folks in Washington, D.C have successfully made the leap from billions of dollars to trillions of dollars.  What amazes me is how little uproar there is from the government funders (AKA taxpayers) as these massive numbers are bandied about.

Can you use it in a sentence?

“The Congressional Budget Office on Friday said that, if the Obama budget unveiled last month were approved, the federal government would run deficits averaging nearly $1 trillion a year over the next decade.”

The 21 Indispensable Qualities of A Leader

Throughout my career I have, on occasion, worked for different government agencies.  Training budgets were generally nonexistent, but oddly enough it was during one of my tenures at an agency that I had the opportunity to attend a workshop series on leadership development. 

We were lucky in that we had a human resources office that was able to create and offer these types of workshops.  These were done using internal resources and leaders.  The “bible” used in this series was written by John C. Maxwell.  Aptly subtitled “Becoming the Person Others Will Want to follow,” The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader outlines the qualities and provides supporting examples.

True American Hero – Vaclav Klaus

A hero is no braver than an ordinary man, but he is braver five minutes longer.

                                                                                   Ralph Waldo Emerson 

My second True American Hero is not an American yet his views and candid speaking would make our forefathers proud.  Vaclav Klaus is the president of the Czech Republic and recently became the President of the European Union.  Here is what the New York Times wrote about him last November:

Hubris (hew – bris)

This is the first in the new series – Framing the Dictionary.

Hubris is defined in as:

“Overbearing pride or presumption; arrogance”

As you scroll further on the web page they offer this second definition:

Hubris [hew – bris] or hybris, the Greek word for ‘insolence’ or ‘affront’, applied to the arrogance or pride of the protagonist in a tragedy in which he or she defies moral laws or the prohibitions of the gods. The protagonist’s transgression leads eventually to his or her downfall, which may be understood as divine retribution or nemesis. Hubris is commonly translated as ‘overweening (i.e. excessively presumptuous) pride’. In proverbial terms, hubris is thus the pride that comes before a fall.

Harbingers of Spring

Update March 30, 2009:  I woke up this morning to a snow-covered lawn and car windows that need scraped.  So much for harbingers of spring.  I should have known that winter had not quite let go as a frequent guest at our feeder, the dark-eyed junco, is still here.  The junco actually winters here and they were at the feeder yesterday.  It is truly spring when I no longer see them.  I did observe a pair of chickadees checking out a nest box that I built in our yard.  A pair raised two broods last year.

Update – I Am From the Government and I Am Here to Help – Part 4

March 15, 2009 Update – Here we go again.  The US House and Senate have graciously, no generously agreed to give up thier pay raise.  Lawmakers were knocking each other over to get “mic” time to show their great leadership.  Unfortunately, the raise that they agreed was not due until 2010.  They will accept the raise this year.  This is a quote from Bloomberg News (Sorry, but I could not find the link):

“Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman, Daniel Inouye, a Hawaii Democrat, accused Vitter of ‘playing politics’ with his proposal (to eliminate all congressional pay raises).  Inouye said, “Most Americans have a healthy understanding of the difference between a pay raise and a pay adjustment based on inflation.” 

Rich Man Poor Man

Politicians, civic “leaders”, newspersons, and citizens seem to be engaged in some class warfare lately.  This probably has always been true with what may be the most famous example in France.  Did Marie Antoinette really say, “Let them eat cake” when told that the peasants did not have bread?  Did the peasants have their fill when they later said “off with her head?”

The funny thing is that being rich or poor is a relative thing.  Rich in America probably pales in comparison to rich in Dubai while poor in America looks rich to the citizens of Zimbabwe although there are probably a lot of billionaires there.  A billion dollars there, however, will not buy you a loaf of bread.

Spreading the Wealth – March 12, 2009 Update

When I originally envisioned this page, I only planned on including “stimulus” spending in my calculations.  However, the recent Omnibus Appropriations Act of 2009 recently signed by President Obama contains millions of dollars of earmarks and significant increases in spending. 

Rather than include the entire amount of the spending bill, I have only included the pork, increases in spending above 2008 budget levels, and the  LEGISLATIVE PAY RAISES.  Please note that I am not an accountant and making estimates from a thirty page summary was mind numbing. 

Click here to look at the numbers.

Hating America

The title of John Gibson’s book leaves nothing to the imagination.  The new world sport is Hating America.  You will not be surprised to hear that Arabs (AKA Everybody from the Middle East, except Israel) hate us.  You may not even be surprised to hear that the French hate us.  Who cares about the French?  I prefer Freedom Fries anyway.

I probably would not rock your world if I told you that the World hates George W. Bush or that the Germans hate us too.  Some my find it a little depressing, but we Americans do not really care what others think because we are arrogant.