Framing the Dialogue

Archive for August, 2009

The Fountainhead

So I was faced with one of the most famous books by one of my favorite authors; a book that was published seventeen years before I was born.  Me fear was that my expectations might be too great to live up to.  After all, I have listed Ayn Rand’s book, Atlas Shrugged as one of my all time favorites.

I took some time to select a week where I would have the time to spend with the book.  The Fountainhead  did not disappoint and it pulled me in from the very beginning.  Rand illustrates her belief in selfishness as the fountainhead of human progress through the struggles of Howard Roark, a masterful architect. 

Finally We Hear From Industry On Healthcare

If you are fortunate to have a Whole Foods Market near you, it is a great (though not cheap) place to shop for organic produce.  I would have to drive my SUV forty minutes to get to the closest one so we only occasionally shop there when we happen to be nearby. 

You would expect the co-founder and CEO of an organic food market to be pretty far to the left and John Mackey may be just that, but his recent actions are heartening for those of us wanting to be heard above the din of the health care debates.  I have had several posts on the issues and even prepared a down loadable post card that folks could use to contact their elected representative.  On the card, I listed several suggestions where reform could start.

All In Favor…

I have the dubious task of representing my employer on the board of some NGO (“non government organization) that provides services to local public officials.  If you have read my postings in the past you may have a sense that my personal views on issues are often at odds with those of my employer.  This organization, however, was different in that they were not political.  I could tell by some of the other board members that I am out numbered, but this organization is non-political. 

The Unfinished Sentence

I love Chinese food.  Sometimes it is an adventure trying some new food, but I have had great experiences as these restaurants.  A favorite part of the dining experience is getting the fortune cookie with the bill at the end of the meal.  I should clarify that I enjoy getting the cookie not the bill.  It can be fun sharing your fortune with your dining partners.

Over the years, I have collected some of my favorite fortunes even though many no longer are “fortunes.”  There is a game that you can play with your fortunes by simply adding the phrase “in bed” after you have read yours.  It certainly adds some humor to the meal, but you may NOT want to do this with work colleagues or young children.

Lord Stanley

Now that football season is underway, I, of course, wanted to write about my favorite sport…Hockey.  Growing up in Steelers’ Country and when the Pirates actually won was great, but I always loved hockey more.  Back when I was a teenager, hockey games were affordable and my friend Lenny and I would get tickets and go to games.  The Penguins were a so-so team, but that did not matter, we loved to go.

We had different favorite players; he like Jean Pronovost and I like Greg Malone.  Pronovost was the better scorer, but Malone was the hard-working player that reflected the grit of the city he played in.  It was really cool when Malone’s son, Ryan, played for the Penguins years later. 

Rule 13

One of the most quoted “rules” in Saul Alinsky’s Rules For Radicals book is Rule 13.  This rule is under the tactics section of the book and that is a better way to think of this.  In this tactic, you are taught to select a specific target, a person.  Government bodies (i.e. Congress, etc.) or buildings (i.e. Washington, city hall, etc.) allow blame to be shifted too easily. 

“Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.”

Rules For Radicals

Hardly a day goes by without some pundit describing the lefts’ playbook written by Saul Alinsky.  Based on the descriptions, I half expected to be treated to a barrage of 1960’s “kill the establishment” claptrap.  Being born in the early part of that decade, I was more worried about tomorrow’s pick up baseball game than world politics, but I was aware of the strife.  Much of my perceptions of the period was formed in front of the television. 

Czar (zar)

Czar us defined as:

“One having great power or authority.”

Synonyms:  autocrat, despot, leader, ruler

Can you use it in a sentance?

“So in effect we have NON-ELECTED officials, who are backed by The White House, who are given the tools and resources to do the bidding of the President and they are accountable to NO ONE! These czar’s don’t have to undergo Senate Confirmation Hearings, they just get appointed.”

What does Charles Krauthammer think?

“More czars than you find at a Romanov wedding.  What I don’t understand is why you want to call anybody a “czar.” The czars had a sorry history of success and achievement.”

Killer Instinct

A sales executive has an auto accident and meets and befriends the tow truck driver.  They are both from modest backgrounds, but one went to college and the other joined the military.  The help each other out until the sales executive’s string of good luck (bad luck for his rivals) take a more serious turn. 

What happens when your military-trained friend turns on you?  To find out you’ll have to read Killer Instinct.  This novel by Joseph Finder is what I would call a good summer read.  It is suspenseful.  It will keep you interested.  You probably won’t remember it in six months.

That Which Is Seen and That Which Is Not Seen

Frederic Bastiat was an infamous economist from France.  Bastiat was infamous because he was able to show the fallacies behind many government and false economic policies and he often did it with humor.  One of my favorite tactics that he uses is to take an economic argument to the extreme to expose the fallacy.  I have used this to “silence” the naïve.  I love it when they finally “get it.”