Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Broken Promises

I grew up in a working class neighborhood. Not remote rural, certainly not suburbia. We had a nice yard and a driveway.

My father was one of the group of men who worked at the local steel mill. He managed to work his way up to Quality Control Foreman. He worked the plum day shift and wore a white shirt and hard hat.

By the time he returned from work at 4:20pm he smelled of the steel dust that coated his white shirt. The environment was challenging for a black man with just an associate's degree. He put up with far more indignities than I faced on my worst day.
The "rules" were to get an education, find a home at a good company, retire and die.

The steady income and the health insurance for us kept him loyal to his employer. The insurance gave him pride and security. With three children who participated in sports it was a nice benefit.

Eye care, medication and dental were included in the package. He would painstakingly sit at the dining room table and fill out the insurance forms. He paid a deductible.

Then came managed care. PPO's, gatekeepers, referral slips and co-payments. Has the cost of healthcare reduced in the last 40 years?

Insurance companies, healthcare providers and drug manufacturers are recording record profits.

The money not spent on healthcare went to our home, furniture, electricity, food, clothing, cars, gasoline. Products that stimulated the economy.

Most people in our country are closer to club poverty than club riches. Until people wrap their brain around this painful fact, nothing will change. A very dear friend of mine, whom I am convinced watches Fox News, is a very successful attorney. From his perspective he is the new middle class. Since when did making a income that exceeds six figures denotes the middle class?

Using the accounting principles of EBIDTA employees and their benefits lends itself to the outsourcing of jobs, to increase the profits for corporate shareholders.

After 35 years of service at the ripe old age of 58, Dad and many of his peers were given a package. He was not emotionally or financially ready to retire. Shortly, thereafter his company was sold twice. The community this plant supported looks like the retirees, tired and broken down.

Eventually, his life insurance was eliminated, pension and health coverage reduced. Try to find a life insurance policy after three bouts of cancer. I can't imagine it developed being exposed to steel dust for 35 years. Minor details. Familiar faces from the mill shared the chemo sessions with Dad. There are not many survivors.

Personal protection equipment mandated by OSHA was not a priority 40 years ago. The OSHA police continue to be underfunded.

My father worked everyday with his eye on the promise of a financially secure retirement. He makes too much money to receive Bush's donut hole prescription drug plan. His out-of-pocket expenses associated with the care of his health exceeds $700 per month.

He at least has what is left of his pension. The ERISA statue was created to make sure employers keep their promises. Employers are now whining that the pensions are killing their profitability. These are the same companies where the CEO's walk away with a platinum package. My daughter only knows of 401K plans.

If he had universal health coverage, he could die in peace.

OSHA and ERISA were created by the government to protect the employee from their employer. Both have failed due to lack of funding and enforcement.

I think it is great billionaire Mortimer Zuckerman writes on this topic. There is just one flaw in his essay. The middle class has already disappeared. No one wants to admit it.

The Lone Ranger

To the surprise and dismay of Washington Insiders are dismayed with Bubble Boy's bunker mentality. Bubble Boy should have spent this much time deliberating before he went to war.

Monday, December 25, 2006

What about the families of the deceased?

Bubble Boy has actively avoided the families of those soldiers killed in this debacle. News coverage of funerals has been frowned upon by this administration and complied with by the MSM.

I think the soldiers, who have managed not to die, would prefer to be home with their friends and family than to chat with their Commander-In-Chief.

I support the troops and the sacrifices of their families. However, it saddens me that their lives have been so casually been used in the family Bush war games. I am not so convinced that all members of this volunteer military new what they signed up for.

Could they know more than their fearless leaders?

Bubble Boy's stubborn resolve is an indication of a man so out of touch with reality, impeachment would be too easy. He should be imprisoned for sending these folks to Iraq and the lack of preparation for peace.

During your "thank you" calls, did you tell these folks when they could come home?

I will be the first to defend your right to be a dumbass, Virgil

I really have no patience for stupid people. What offends me more, is a stupid person in a position of power with a very large megaphone.

The winner this week is Rep. Virgil Goode from the great state of Virginia. All he has to do is read the the FIRST article of the Constitution, if his attention span does not permit him read the entire document. According to my history teachers, people fled to these shores to escape religious persecution.

Worse, Rahm Emanuel's solution is Virgil to meet with Rep-Elect Keith Ellison. I suppose once they meet Goode will see the light and stop being a racist. Who died and made Virgil that important?

Ellison, like it or not, was BORN in this country and really shouldn't have to defend himself to Virgil from Virginia. The voters from his district put him in office.

No one, other than the folks from his district, ever heard of Virgil before this infamous letter. Virgil needs to spend more time reading the document that he is supposed to protect.

BTW your ignorant commentary is protected in the same Article. Let me be the first in line to defend that right, VIRGIL.

If my momma named me VIRGIL I would be fearful too......

Look what's under the tree

Merry Christmas Philadelphia!

What a perfect Christmas present. The Eagles beat the 'Boys in Texas clinching a playoff spot. The bow on the gift was the camera focusing on T.O. pouting after he dropped yet another pass.

I give my future son-in-law credit for choking down this loss. He showed up wearing his Dallas garb. The blue stood out in the sea of Eagles green worn by the rest of my family.

Blessedly, my parents made the trip without incident. They took off before the game started because the weather was pretty crappy. Dad looked pretty good and ate too much. Everyone was glad to see him.

After eating dinner, we gathered around the tube to watch the game. It was cool having most of the family together. My kid brother called after dinner. All is well in his corner of the world. My ex-husband, a Philly native, who now resides in Texas called throughout the game to torment the lone Cowboys fan in the house.

All is well in my corner of the world. Merry Christtmas Jeff Garcia, Welcome to Philadelphia.

Eagles 23, Cowboys 7.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Daddy's Home

My Dad is resting an home today after four days in the hospital. According to my Mom, he is starting to look like his normal self today. A Christmas wish granted.

On Monday morning I saw my Mom's cell number flash on my cell phone. I knew immediately, something was not good. My mother never uses her cell phone, ever.

When I answered, Mom informed me that she and Dad were on the way to the hospital. Dad's heart rate was so low at his doctor's visit, he was instructed to go immediately to the local hospital.

My parents are old and have been married forever. I am not sure when they officially became old, but I am discovering that old people have rules. In my parents world, Dad always drives. Period.

Dad has a history of diabetes and high blood pressure. I knew that he was on a lot of meds but I did not know heart medicine was in the mix. Mind you, Dad could have had a stroke, seizure, or simply passed out. But there are rules. Mom rides shotgun.

Mom assured me that Dad was fine, under the circumstances and they would be at the hospital shortly.

During this brief conversation, I was not quite sure who to be annoyed with, the doctor or my folks. Fear was the best description of how I was feeling.

I love both my folks. I was terrified that they would, in this little 20 mile excursion, kill themselves and faceless strangers. Where my folks live 20 miles is local.

My best friend recently buried her father. His funeral flashed in my mind.

When I received the call, I was on my way to take an account that I actually like to lunch. Nice clients are rarity in my business. I would be two hours. Mom told me not to rush. Dad stopped taking one of his pills and it screwed up his system. The doctor told them once the old body was recalibrateted, he would be fine. The plan was to keep him at least overnight.

I called my older brother who was closer to the hospital at that moment. I told him what was going on and asked him to meet the folks at the ER.

I told him that I should get there in enough time to relieve him and chat with the doctor. He is money. "I got it, Sis," as he hung up.

It seemed like a week took place during the lunch. One member of my party was a nun. She sensed my anxiety and her words of kindness gave me comfort.

After lunch, I dropped off my employee who whispered a prayer for my family. The traffic gods shined on me. The route that i had to take always has either an accident or a construction project.

By the time I reached the hospital, Dad had been moved to a room and was hooked up to every machine imaginable.

By this time, Mom was worn out. My brother decided to take her home. I promised to wait for the cardiologist and call everyone with an update. With that my brother gave me a big old hug. I needed it at the time.

Dad was pretty spent, so we sat quietly as the sun began to fade into the evening. Before the doctor arrived I had to know why Dad was screwing around with his meds. He told me that the one pill "messed with my stomach." Unfortunately, it was his heart medicine and he didn't bother to tell his doctor until this morning.

I recalled my parents discussing the high cost of their medication. I could always talk to my Dad about sensitive stuff. Money is a sensitive topic.

I asked if he was he cutting back on his meds because of the cost. He said no. He is the collateral damage of the collapse of the American steel industry. After 38 years of service, he was forced into early retirement. They eliminated his life insurance policy, slashed his health coverage and cut his pension by 15%.

I made him promise if the cost of the meds were an issue to let me know.

Once we chatted with the cardiologist, we just sat with the sounds of the machines providing a break in the silence. I found comfort in the rhythm of the machines.

Finally, visiting hours were over.

As I was leaving, I told Dad " don't die yet, OK?"

With a big old grin, he told me "God didn't want him messin' up his Heaven."

Presumptuous aren't we? I responded. We both just laughed, and fought back tears.

Serenity Now

Because of my stressful life, my family doctor suggested, yoga or drugs. The whole zoned out approach to my life never had much appeal to me. So I opted to go the Yoga route.

I have been accused of being a quadruple" A " workaholic control freak. A harsh assessment. There may be a grain of truth to the label. Just a grain. What is so wrong with seeking spiritual enlightenment in a week?

Like any practice, you are to find the right form of yoga for your spiritual journey.

The teachers I encountered ask who you are and what you do for a living. Most of my classmates hailed from corporate America. The men in my classes were there with their wives or with the encouragement of their ex-wives or coworkers.

My first teacher looked at me with his piercing blue eyes and told me that the point of the class was not to be competitive and to work at sane pace. He warned me that if he sensed me being competitive, that he would make me face the wall. I tried to muster a smile but I did find myself looking away with a pout.

When I relayed this story to a friend of mine, he asked me "What color is the wall?"

Once I permitted myself to slow down, I found myself really enjoying the classes. The kinks in my body are worked out through a series of poses. By focusing on the poses it stills the mind in preparation for meditation.

After eight weeks with Francois, I moved due to life's circumstances, which left me without a teacher.

Once I settled into my new community I found a home to practice my yoga. To my delight, Francois was a student of the teacher who founded this institute. The same firm philosophy and gentle approach. You hear horror stories of psycho-nazi instructors that push folks and injuries occur.

I usually go to class on Sunday morning. It helps me through the week.

Each class begins with a word or concept to focus on. Non-violence is a concept that seems to surface in every class.

I never considered myself to be violent per se but I discovered, that when I make mistakes I have found myself assaulting me verbally. Wow. It is something that most of us do. A whacked version of humility or self-evaluation. We would never say to someone we love the things that we say to ourselves in a typical guilt ridden thought loop.

I found that each week, the word of the day always strikes a cord. One week it was aversion. According to my teacher, annoying people are sent into your life to teach you compassion. I guess that explains my current boss.

On this Christmas Eve the class was packed. I guess I wasn't the only one who needed a break from the holiday insanity.

Today the word was intention. My intention now and into the future is not to permit anyone take my joy.

I have let too many people or circumstances steal my joy. I recommend yoga for anyone trying to get through the day.

By the way, the wall at the yoga studio was baby blue.

Merry Christmas!

Dear Santa,

Dear Santa,

It has been a rocky season with my beloved Eagles. Tomorrow the Eagles will spend their Christmas in the Texas Stadium. They will square off against T.O. and the 'Boys. (BOOOOOO).

If the Eagles win, they will be in pretty good shape for the playoffs. They just have to win.

My family will gather at my place. Dinner will be served at 3:00pm. Standard fare: Homemade mac & cheese, mashed sweet and white potatoes, collards, corn, mushrooms, cornbread stuffing, turkey, gravy and ham.

Everyone should be ready for dessert and coffee around kickoff. My baby is making homemade sweet potato and apple tarts.

Here's the rub, my baby's sweetie is a fan of America's team. Of course, the trash talkin' has begun. You have to admire someone so arrogantly struttin' into enemy territory. At the end of the evening, there will be either 8 happy campers or one very happy soul. My Mom simply enjoys the insanity.

I hope the feared defense shows up and Garcia has the game of his career. If you recall, T.O. made Garcia' life a living hell in San Francisco. He even suggested that Garcia did not like the ladies. Finally, I want T.O. to continue to drop passes. No touchdowns in your stocking for you, just lumps of coal. He has been naughty his entire career.

Thanks Santa.



Sunday, December 17, 2006

He is just crazy

The contest featured record-breaking field goal Morten Andersen, handing his wife his jersey after kicking one through the upright for the beleaguered Falcons. To everyone's surprise, there was lot of scoring by both teams. The dreaded Cowboys (BOOOOO) won, securing a spot in the second season.

If T.O. is anywhere in the state, he is the center of drama. This jackass was not happy to catch two touchdowns in this game. He felt compelled to share his saliva with Falcon's cornerback DeAngelo Hall.

Hall was talkin' trash, which is common in any sports venue, unless you are on a golf course. Poor TO he couldn't take it anymore so this is what he did. The handful of remaining T.O. fans has been reduced to his grandmom and agent.

He is a disgrace. The league will fine him less that what he pays in taxes in his weekly check. The best thing that could happen to him, is that the media simply ignore him. He is too old to spank, ignoring him would be the worst punishment in the world.

He needs the drama, we don't. Stop feeding the beast, let's go a whole week without talking about him. Jerk.

When was the last time you received a party when you got fired?

Last February, three competent employees were reorganized out of my company. In my president's brave new world, they were deemed expendable.

You know the deal when an employee leaves, LA riots ensue. Before the disposed employee reaches the elevator, the looting is completed. This process takes, oh, ten minutes max. Admit it, when one of your coworkers takes a week long vacation or is out sick for more than two days, your eye up their stuff.

The affect of their dismissal had such a profound impact, their work stations were treated like a crime scene. The only thing not present was the yellow crime tape. Only with the recent EBITDA driven renovations have prompted the actual touching of their remaining things.

On that cold morning, they received their final check and their personal belongings were packed up in a record twenty minutes. Many of the remaining employees had no idea what occurred until they were huddled into a conference room for a rare impromptu meeting. For some this was the first time they were introduced to my boss and his vision. His guarantees of continued employment fell on shocked deaf ears.

It has been ten months and the survivors only speak of that day in a whisper. When the HR manager and my boss pay a visit to our office, a good portion of the day before is spent promising no harm will come of their visit.

Real world response to the termination of three coworkers. Unless you work for Bubble Boy's White House.

It is bad enough, that Paul Bremer and George Tenant were given prizes after they left for their "hard work" and incompetence, our boy Rummy gets a party. He gets a forum to tell the soldiers he has not sacrificed and the world how much he will be missed.

All three no doubt were spared the "walk of shame." You may know what that feels like, walking past your now former work family with all of your crap in a bankers box. Unless you are in the ranks of the still employed. Then it is combination of sympathy but relief that you are still employed. Some look away or mouth from a distance "Call me."

Maybe thia trio will call Colin Powell and get together once a month like, the ex-employees of my company. Weird, huh?

Yep, once a month they get together at a local bar or restaurant. Some celebrate the freedom of not being employed by our organization. For others the bitterness is palatable, according to my sources.

Luckily, the now departed employees missteps did not cost any lives. I wish the same could be said for the gang that has left Bubble Boy's administration.

Unfortunately, MSM doesn't see the madness of this administration. Oh I forgot, they want to be invited to White House holiday party. While our citizens soldiers are dying in Iraq; the pundits wasted valuable air time frettin' about what Bubble Boy will say to them during their photo shoot at the White House party. These are same "journalists" who did not ask the hard questions when it mattered. They are now concerned if Bubble Boy is upset with them because they are finally questioning this disaster.

I am sure our battered troops would love to see the money spent on the White House party spent on body armour. After attending the grown up version of a high school party at the cool kid's house, they will return to the comfort of their homes. No fear of insurgents in the beltway.

Our founding fathers empowered the press with the freedom to hold our elected officials accountable. Instead of focusing on the loss of lives and injuries associated with this disaster, the press gave Rummy's termination party plenty of airtime.

Who wouldn't like a televised forum to tell a former employer how much they will miss you when you are gone, without the fear of being escorted to the door by security?

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Baseball Hall of Shame

The nominees for the Baseball Hall of Fame are out. On the list, Jose "I watched everybody take steriods" Consaeco and Mark "I don't want to talk about the past" McGuire. The fact that they are on the list overshadows Carl Ripkin, Jr. and Tony Gwynne. A dilema for the members of the sportswriters selection committee.

Apparently, drug use in baseball was the worst kept secret on the planet. McGuire and Consaeco were lustly annoited the "Bash Brothers" by sportswriters. Fans love the long ball. There is a sexiness to watching the ball flying out of the stadium. Everyone gets warm all over.

Baseball purists know it is the short game, bunts, singles and doubles are what win games. It is inexplicable to me why every flippin' pitcher in the National League cannot lay down a bunt. Rarely does a pitcher stays in the batter's box beyond five pitches. The networks struggle not to go to commercial when they come up to bat. I digress.

Ripkin showing up to work everyday appealled to the workin' class stiff in all of us. This combined with the chase for the single season homerun record is credited with saving baseball after a long strike.

Sammy "corkbat" Sosa and Mark McQuire were everywhere. Everyone was caught up in the excitement. The teams and the networks made a ton of money. It was fun for sportswriters to prepare their essays.

Conseaco, McQuire and Sosa are representative of players who cheated. They all had excuses as to why but it is still cheating.

The naysayers say you still need bat speed and good eye coordiation to even hit the ball. I am not an expert on the drugs they may have taken but it just isn't right.

All parties were complicite, in this fraud that was perpertrated on the buying public.

Next year, if he doesn't get hurt, Barry Bonds will break Hank Aaron's record. Like the Bash brothers there is questions surrounding his sudden muscle development. Another dilema facing this institution.

What will baseball, the networks and the sportswriters do?

I really do not hear a drumbeat from the masses to vote McQuire or Conseaco into the Hall of Fame.

They are not the only members of this club whose reputation that has been tarnished by the worst kept secret on the planet.

The depature of A.I.

It is finally over. Allen Iverson has worn out his welcome in Philly. I do not blame him, the fault lies squarely with upper management.

Whether you manage an office or a basketball team, you are still managing people. The problem with the Sixers was they let the superstar man/child take over managing the team by default.

There was always a separate set of rules for Mr. Iverson. That is not his fault. He filled the arena so it was always, Allen just being Allen. Like the star employee who manipulates management, eventually the star either fades or bursts before crashing into the universe.

Basketball is a team sport. Mr. Iverson needed to be taught how to play within the framework of a team. To that end, he needed to be surrounded by skilled players and a management team willing to enforce standard rules. We are not talking extraordinary rules. Let's start with the basics, show up and on time. Practice is part of his job. After his infamous riff about practice, he should have been traded or deactivated immeditately.

He did not get it. But like most gifted athletes, from an early age, they are placed on a different career path or in a bubble. The rules are different for the Iversons in the world because schools, boosters and management created these rules.

When players continue to act "special," there is shock in management when the behavior of these "special" players bite them in the ass.

In the corner, sits the coaching careers of quality coaches, who pleaded with upper management not to undermine their efforts to enforce the rules to The Answer or ship him out.

The fans have voted with their feet. Management made a ton of money by tolerating Iverson's failure to follow basic workplace rules. Now they will lose money because, not only is the star gone, the supporting cast of characters are mediocore at best.

The Sixers should make additional changes. With the departure of Iverson, Billy King and Ed Snyder should do the honorable thing and resign.

I slept through the second half, so did the Eagles

After spending most of my weekend in the office serving in the capacity of renovations foreman, I was pretty wiped out when I settled in to watch the game.

The first half showed some promise. The Eagles were up 21-3 when I drifted off to sleep. As an Eagles fan, I have been conditioned not to celebrate until the game is officially over. Matt Bryant's walk off record tying field goal still haughts me.

When I emerged from my afternoon slumber, the Eagles were ahead by two lousy points. Ugh. Brian Dawkin's fourth quarter interception ensured a victory. It wasn't pretty but really awful teams lose games like this one. The Eagles managed to put in the books as a win.

The illusion of a fearful smashmouth defense is gone. Jimmy Johnson has aged 20 years this season with this gang. Brian Dawkins cannot be everywhere on the field even though he chalked up his first sack of the seasson.

Aging former Eagles defensive hero, Troy Vincent now plays for Washington. The mere mention of his name had me longing for the good old days of the dangerous tandem of Vincent and the oh so fine Bobby Taylor.

Because I can't help myself, I remain optimistic for a playoff berth. However, I am not so far gone that I will schedule a Superbowl party with an Eagles theme.

Next up the Giants.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Philly Love

Jeff Garcia lead the Eagles to a victory over the struggling Panthers. He efficiently managed Andy Reid's sacred west coast offense Monday evening. What could have been a prime time debacle turned into a competitive contest.

Before the game started, ESPN did the obligatory snowballing of Santa Claus story. It happened 37 years ago. Give me a break. It was just snow.

Unfortunately, the fans did not disappoint. When Garcia finally got up after a brutal hit, Philly's finest showed their love by booing. Nice.

For a player who had no snaps until McNabb went down, he has done a tremendous job. He even went long, which was concern about his arm strength.

I am not making reservations for the Superbowl, but we could sneak into the playoffs on the back of Jeff Garcia. He played with T.O. so he can handle the Philly fans.

Bring on Washington!

Sunday, December 03, 2006

"What was the score?"

I had lunch with the folks today, a weekly ritual that I enjoy. Both of my parents are retired. It is my Dad's job to keep me informed of what he thinks is news worthy. It took me months to get him to stop watching the Devil news channel. The NY Daily News and the Star are his current alternative news sources. I am convinced that he reads this crap just to drive me crazy. He just laughs at me when he quotes something outrageous. So when he brings up a topic, I usually roll my eyes and ask him his source.

A group of college kids walked into to the local restaurant which prompted today's topic. "Did you hear about Lincoln's team?"
They scored over two hundred points.

Lincoln University in not known for sending athletes to ANY professional sport.

Apparently, they scored so many points, that the scoreboard did not have the capacity to add more than 201 points.

It was bad enough that there was such an imbalance in the final score. He shook his head in disbelief, when interviewed by a local reporter, the leading point scorer admitted that he could not add up his 21 three pointers in his head.

I suppose he is not majoring in math.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Another not so prime time game

After the debacle last week against the Colts, the Eagles will face the Panthers on MNF. The poor slob who scheduled this game was no doubt deactivated by the network.

The Panthers have looked as bad as the Eagles this season. John Madden and Al Michaels groaned very loudly after the first quarter of last Sunday's game. The game started and ended very ugly. I turned it off at half time.

Are you ready for some football? I am. I hope the Eagles are too.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

True Love

A very dear friend of mine divorced his wife years ago. Two children were given life as the result of this union. While the marriage did not last their love has endured and grown.

When she was diagnosed with terminal cancer, he moved back in with her and their two children to assist his family with this phase of her life. This while working in this dreadful insurance business. He works all day then rushes home to relieve the home health care nurse.

He is being strong for her and their children. This process has been hard but he never complains. You can hear the stress in his voice. He always assures me that he is fine and that it will be over soon as his vioce trails off....

(Her life expectancy is six to eight weeks.)

Then he reminds me that she had become his best friend after their marriage ended. Funny how that works sometimes.

I pray for him and his family daily. I am blessed to know this man.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

His vision

Eighteen months ago, my boss of the hour arrived on the scene. According to both of my outgoing bosses, "he has an impressive resume" and will be "great" for me and the company.

It wasn't the first time men have lied to me.

His vision included the streamlining of processes and cutting expenses. He never bothered to evaluate these procedures, his vision dictated these changes. His vision became my personal nightmare.

The collateral damage of his vision were the loss of institutional knowledge, talented staff, lost friendships and a 30% loss of revenue.

He summarily dismissed everybody's marketing plans. He wouldn't get mired in messy practices such cold calling or any standard forms of business development, because he had a vision.

He came in as the Chief Operating Office of two companies, was reassigned as a President of one company. His current role is Chief Account Executive of a product line.

The past two days he spent time in my office, his stated purpose was to discuss our marketing plan for the upcoming year.

I am convinced he retreated to our location to hide from our boss, the CEO.

After droning on about the new owners and upper management for two hours, he sat back in his chair and ask me who are the target markets and what is our message....

What is our message?

The only thing that prevented me from jumping across the desk and beating the crap out of him was the thought of ruining my new suit.

I just glared at him. Our services have not changed since he has joined our organization and this jackass is basically starting at square one.

I did not think he could surprise me. We have not had a dedicated salesperson for this product line for the four years that I have been here. What a shock! The only new business has been the low-hanging fruit.

Our pipeline has been retention.

My boss brought in one of his boys, who was supposed to be the answer for new business. They both have brought in squatta of new business but took down three times as much money as I find in my own check.

We are going to spend 100K on remodeling and I can only give my staff a 3% raise.

My best friend talked me down on my way to my massage. She reminded me that she could not find any job.

Reality check.

The pay is nice but I am on the front line and have had to implement the changes that my boss of the hour comes up with while daydreaming.

He speaks of all of his contacts who have made a lot of money. It is not lost on me that they are not working with him and no one took him along for their ride.

He is a wrecking ball with an impressive resume that will include the damage that he has done to his latest victim: our division.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

What I am thankful for........

Thanksgiving officially marks the the start of the holiday season. Most people spend time with the folks that they love. If they are lucky, they like them too.

I must admit that I do enjoy cooking on Thanksgiving and Christmas, the only days that I committ to cooking. My Mom still brings her creamed mushrooms. My daughter prepares the mashed potatoes. When my kid brother lived closer, he prepared a killer cornbread stuffing. I took over the bulk of the duties from my mom, in time I will pass the baton to my daughter and her new family.

Dad will bounce in the kitchen and test everything to make sure it is OK. My Mom will yell at him for doing so. It is what they do.

We will eat too much, watch football and resolve the problems of the world.

Most stores used to close on this day. The supermarkets and convinience stores would open buit close early so that the employees could eat dinner with their families.

To my horror Kmart is open ALL day today. I am not much of a shopper but I think this is a little much. How much will you really save? What about the folks who have to work?

I am thankful for my good health, family and friends. I blessed that I have a job with benefits, a luxury in today's economy. I am blessed that my daughter, nieces and nephews are not in the military.

I very grateful that I do not have work for Kmart.

The Philly Hope

Ryan Howard has been named the National League MVP. He is a perfect match for Philadelphia. He has a working man's ethic coupled with a 1000 watt smile. No baby mama drama, no sit ups in the front yard, no posse, he just shows up to work.

Thank you Ryan for giving me something to look forward to in the spring. I wish you good health and continued success.

Spring training here I come.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Invade first, talk later

Rape is a violent assault. There is an aggressor and a victim. At times it is a random act of violence or there is a serious communications problem, with both parties leaving the encounter with a different interpretation of events. If the terms and conditions of the "act" are clear to the consenting parties, the experience can be a beautiful. Failure to engage in such diplomacy before the "act" can lead to serious complications.

Kissinger is now saying that that a military victory in Iraq is impossible. Is he suggesting diplomacy? Wasn't he the one freely welcome in the White House advising Georgie Boy to stay the course? He is either floating a trial balloon for Pappa Bush's HazMat team or he is joining the friends and advisors who running from Bush who lead the assault on this country. The victims are our brave soldiers, their families and the private citizens who just happen to be living in the wrong part of the world.

Damp, dreary and awful

At the beginning of the season, I predicted the Eagles would go 10-6 for the season. The down side of that prediction, is that I would have to suffer through six loses.

The Eagles are 5-5. On paper the Eagles should have be at least 7-3, going into the Colts game next week. Donovan McNabb is out for the season, AGAIN. The Eagles have not looked wonderful with the Syracuse Savior. When he wasn't throwing up at critical points of a game, he did manage to make something out of nothing.

The Titans struggle against the run, what does Reid do? Take a QB who has not played all season and utilize the West Coast offense. The Eagles version continues to be offensive. It was 7-3 when journeyman Jeff Garcia entered the game. THE RUN would have given him time to get in a rhythm.

The two killer running plays that Jeff Fisher's offense shoved down the once feared defense sealed the deal. Even the heart of the team, Brian Dawkins dropped a possible interception, which could have shifted the momentum.

When Automatic Akers and the field goal unit walks on the field, you can bank on those three points. Not today. A high hike?

Fisher did begin his coaching his career under Buddy Ryan here in Philadephia. But instead of giving the young defensive coordinator a shot, Brahman promoted Rich Kotite....I digress.

Fisher's young team was prepared to exploit the weaknesses of this team.

Reid's team struggles to do the basics, catch passes, run the football and make tackles.

The Colts lost to the Cowboys (BOOOOO) today, ending their streak at 9-1.

The money men at the networks moved the Eagle v Colts game to prime time expecting a great game. They sold their sponsors the same bill of goods, that the Eagles sold their fans.

Unfortunately, this year my beloved Eagles are not ready for prime time.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Rajun Cajun

I am appalled by Mr. Matalin's behavior. Dr. Dean's 50 state strategy worked. If the time and money that was fueled by Dr. Dean's losing strategy was diverted to an independent party, what would Mr. Matalin and whomever he represents do?

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Two Score and three years ago

My beloved Eagles finally showed up on Sunday and beat Washington 27 to 3. I was enjoying the win, until yesterday.

I am painfully aware of the fact that it has been two score and three years ago that ANY Philadephia sports team has won a Championship. I love the Daily News sports writers, but did they have memorialize this in a front page pull out section.


Hidding in 'Nam

It is Shakespearean that Georgie Boy is running to Vietnam as the mess in Iraq is getting worse.

Maybe if he went to "Nam at taxpayer expense the first time, he MAY have learned something.....

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Employee Misconduct

Two hundred and thirty years ago brave men seeking freedom from an oppressive King converged on Philadelphia. Jefferson and company were well read; open to other ideas; and showed a willingness to change their minds when presented withh new information.They debated their philosophies and prepared a business plan for democracy. An organizational chart and the policies and procedures were created to manage our country. Each branch has clearly definded roles and responsiblities.
Like risk managers they anticipated the damages if there were not clear separation of powers.

It was as if they divined this moment in our history.

The current adminstration admonished anyone who did not agree with them. Or worse they were labeled unpatriotic and emboldend the enemy. The only enemy that was emoldened resides in the White House. Before the election, American citizens were afraid to discuss the failings of this administration out of fear of retribution."

Actions speak louder than words. American citizens sent a very clear message to this adminstration. "You are not a king and we are no longer afraid of you." They voted most of the folks who supported this President out of office.

A mere four days after the election, a group of concerned citizens, including yours truly, gathered at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia to discuss impeachment of the vice president and the president. Radical stuff.

Before the discussion began, I struggled with where I stood on this issue. My practical inclination was why bother? Georgie Boy's daddy would find a means of getting him off the hook. The country is a mess. Time and resources should be committed to cleaning up the mess he created.

After listening to the speakers such as Cindy Sheehan and seeing the Veterans, I thought, how can we not?

Madame Pelosi does not have the authority to take impeachment off the table. This is not like the coveted voluntary sex act between two consenting adults. If Georgie boy's conduct does not fall under the categories of treason and/or high crime or misdemeanor I do not know what does. When an employee engages in misconduct or shows incompetence, an employer has procedures to rehab or rid the company of the corporate problem. If you or I lied and performed this poorly, our employers would not keep paying us.

Our founders gave WE THE PEOPLE, citizen employers, the mechanism to deal with a problem member of the executive branch. It's called Impeachment. There is plenty of evidence our citizentry can stomach a real impeachment proceeding.

Like a new manager taking over a division, a thorough assessment is mandatory before making any changes. How can the DEMs take our country in a new direction without investigating how the country ended up in its current state?

Impeachment hearings are the procedures available for Congress to perform their assessment and employee evaluation.

Yesterday was the beginning. The next step is writing to the folks that you just put in office; contact the MSM; and by all means sign the petition at Impeach for change.

Impeachment is mandatory in reclaiming our Constitution and Country.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Your life is not a reality show

It is no secret that the Bush Dynasty takes care of their own. Throughout Georgie Boy's life, when he managed to get in a bind, the family came along and made it all better.

There is nothing wrong with parents providing love, wisdom and where appropriate guidance. But there comes a time in normal families that a child is taught responsibility. If you engage in inappropriate behavior, there are consequences. The most powerful lessons are learned by screwing up and dealing with the fallout. It is called life. Clearly Georgie Boy was spared the rod and denied hugs.

The citizens have spoken by throwing out the Republicans. Rummy is gone, Cheney is shooting ducks some place and the military is periously close to a coup.

He behaved like a petulant child from the beginning. When they stole the second election, the next day he came out talking serious smack. A surprising attitude coming from a cheerleader. 51% is not a mandate. Looking at his resume' what has he done well? Nothing comes to mind. Our democracy was Georgie's latest toy.

Once again the matriarch of this horrible family will change his diaper; kiss him on the forehead and assure him that Poppa will make it all better.

Memo to Georgie:

41 will still like Clinton more than you. He will resent you for, once again, cleaning up your train wreak of a life again. Rest assured a Thanksgiving dinner invitation will not be forth coming from Jeb. Because of your need to get your way, you ruined his chances for a shot at the Presidency. Your goofy sister wrote a book to get some Daddy time on a book tour..
The Hulk Hogan reality show is less painful to watch. When it gets too ugly, changing the channel makes them go away.

Your life is not a reality show. Changing the channel does not make the problems that you created and/or ignored disapper.

I trust the White House's benefits plan makes an EAP program available to you. I think the average taxpayer would not mind paying for you to work out your unresolved family issues by going to family counseling. It would be a lot cheaper than how you have dealt with them to date.

Poll watching

I decided this year to take my role as a citizen more seriously. I joined DFA and MoveOn.org. I financially supported a handful of Congressional Candidates and signed up to be a poll watcher for the Sestak camp. With the shenanigans that have been reported in previous elections I figured that I would be useful in this role.

When I woke up at 5:45am, I questioned my desire to save the country. "I can't believe I agreed to this" I mumbled to myself.

I grabbed a large cup of coffee from Dunkin Donuts and a couple of newspapers. Our community had become so polarized I was not sure how I would be received. What shenanigans would I have to deal with? How would I respond? Too much to obsess about at such an ungodly hour.

I arrived at the local library at 6:10am. My neighbors were busy assembling the booths and performing the preliminary checks. I presented my official poll watcher certificate to the Judge. Introduced myself to the other volunteers, ran through the procedures and settled in.

I was a rookie. The more senior volunteers were old enough to be my grandparents. I am sure that I brought the median age down to 82. They shared with me the anticipated stretches of down time. In addition to my newspapers, I had my blackberry to deal with possble boredom.

Boy were we wrong. From the time the polls opened at 7 am until my shift ended at 6 pm, we barely had enough time to breathe. We were averaging 55 voters per hour. Everyone was stunned.

The drama was kept to a minmum. I was one of two Democratic poll watchers. The rest were Republicans. But we worked together to get our neighbors through the process. We did not have an electronic system or the dreaded chads. Our ballots were scanned.

Only a couple of folks showed up at the wrong location. The Judge was helpful in redirecting them.

What surprised me was the turnout of young and first time voters. They came with their parents or their friends. That did my heart good. It was an event.

The only thing that people complained about were the calls. They simply wanted them to end. One lady who appeared to be a doctor or nurse, said that her voicemail had 40 calls after a twelve hour shift. She looked more perplexed than annoyed.

According to some reports our precint had a 56% turnout from the living registered voters. Not bad for a mid-term election.
BUT where was everyone else?

Young people historically sit on the sidelines, turned out. They are paying attention. The state of affairs is their problem. Good for them. Good for us.

Poll watching was exhausting but I am glad that I did it.

Monday, November 06, 2006

It's so hard to say goodbye to yesterday

Politicians and sports stars have a lot in common. When do you walk away? It is a difficult decision. You are generally criticized for whichever road is taken. How many times did Michael Jordan retire? How dreadful was it watch Joe Montana in a Kansas City uniform after being a hero in San Francisco? Eagles castoff, Randall Cunningham found new life in Minnesota. The Giants running back, Tiki Barber is being criticized for walking away at the end of this year. His decision being labeled a locker room distraction.

This brings me to John Kerry and his flubbed joke last week. He was trying to help the party. Unfortunately, his nuances made him come off as an intellectual snob. In my opinion, the only person who should be apologizing to the troops is Georgie Boy. The situation that he put our brave soldiers and Iraqi civilians in is unforgivable. But that was lost in the fervor of the Kerry flub. After he was pushed under the bus by everybody, he quietly returned to safety and solitude of a very quiet D.C.

I attended two rallies this election cycle. You can see how the politicians soaked up the love being offered up by those of us in attendance.

In a sporting event, when an athlete performs well that same love is showered upon him or her. When was the last time your peers cheered when you filed a report? Or performed an endzone dance when you landed a new account?

Walking away from the spotlight and cheers is very hard to do for these competitive high achievers. You have to respect those who walk away at the height of their career. On the other hand, it is heartbreaking to watch a very public implosion when they stick around after their time has come and gone.

Eagles managed not to lose

My beloved Eagles managed not to lose this weekend. The fact that they did not play this weekend is a minor detail.

Sunday, October 29, 2006


It is a good thing the Linc is an open air stadium. With next week being a BYE for the Eagles, there will be plenty of time for the stench to blow out of the stadium.

The Jacksonville offensive simply ran the ball and the Eagles defense could not contain them. The offense was well offensive.

The receivers rarely got open. When they did, they dropped four passes that were actually catchable.

I was not operating in that happy place that the Eagles would find their way to the Superbowl this year, other than as spectators. What I did expect was a professional football team to hmmmmm SHOW UP on a regular basis. Each week they are getting worse. Note to the Eagles: you were supposed to win this week.

Thank God for the BYE next week, I could use the break. I will spend my Sunday before the election doing something useful like assisting with a Democratic campaign.

Let's not talk about sex...

Chris Rabb, Chief Evangelist at Afronetizen.com asks the question: Is the RNC ad against Harold Ford, Jr.racist?

Harold Ford, Jr. Is in a tight Senate race in Tennessee. If he wins, it will be the first time that the South sends a black man to the Senate since the time of Reconstruction.

For the last week, the MSM has played segments of this ad over and over again. Ken Mehlman, head of the RNC, initially said that he did not have the authority to pull the ad. I guess he had to ask his supervisor, Karl Rove for permission. Then he downplayed the racial implications of the ad. This is the same man who has spent endless hours reaching out to the black clergy around the country to, at least, split the black vote. Chris Matthews and Tucker Carlson even expressed dismay with the party of Lincoln's need to stoop to such an ad. Eventually, the ad was reportedly pulled.

To respond to question, of course the ad is racist. The Republicans have always played the race card. In close elections, this is their hail Mary play. Why? Because it usually works. The impact will not be known until the ballots are counted.

Like it or not, we spend far too much time in this country worrying about sex. Mind you, in the right setting, I'd be happy to chat about it all night. The right for gays to marry; abortion; unmarried sex and the time tested favorite, black men sleeping with white women; always surface during the election season.

There is this group of self-righteous people who want to dictate when, with whom and how we have sex. They want to punish folks for having sex in a manner that they have deemed unacceptable. This distraction has become the centerpiece of the values movement.

The President with our inept Congress drug us into a war against a country that had nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks. The brave soldiers, whose lives are being sacrificed, in this game of democracy building last names do not include Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Frist or Kennedy.

Is this a moral value?

Bush baby has simply ignored the Constitution. Our Constitutional rights have been wiped out through a series of bad legislation; executive priviledge interpretation; and the infamous signing statements.

Are these moral values?

In order to give tax breaks to people like me, they have mortgaged my newborn grandbaby's future, by borrowing money from China.

Is this a moral value?

The healthcare benefits that my working class parents took for granted have become a luxury for the average American. The now popular consumer driven insurance products are DESIGNED to discourage use and increase profitability.

Is this a moral value?

Education is the great equalizer. No Child Left Behind has been improperly administered and chronically underfunded. Those who thought this was a good idea, including the yahoos who helped pass this bill, send their children to private schools. Or they live in a community whose property taxes are so high thereby automatically making the school system virtually private.

Is this a moral value?

Illegal Immigration has become the perfect means of outsourcing jobs internally. The employers who make profits by exploiting these workers should be tossed in jail next to gang from Enron. The billions of dollars that these employers do not pay in payroll taxes would finance the tax cuts the Republicans so dearly embrace. The illegals would not be running across the border if there were not jobs to run to. The jobs that Americans refuse to do, would be filled by Americans if they were paid a living wage.

Is this a moral value?

The demise of my marriage to a male was not caused by Fred and Barney's desire to formalize their love.

If Buffy gets an abortion that is between her and her God. It is none of my business.

The issues that are my business are: a bad war; loss of Constitutional rights; poor educational system; folks who are under or unemployed and lack of affordable healthcare for my fellow citizens.

Let's not talk about sex until these real moral value issues have been addressed.

Monday, October 23, 2006

"He has no choice, but to go for it"

There were four seconds left in the game between the Eagles and the Buccaneers. Kicking a field goal was Gruden's only option. Tampa's kicker, Matt Bryant's career best to date was a 50 yarder. He had to kick a 62 yarder to win the game.

Tom Dempsey and Jason Elam share the record for the longest field goal at 63 yards. Anderson, Ackers maybe. Matt Who? History was on our side.

When I told my daughter Tampa has to go for the field goal. "Mom you have just jinxed us" she said, clearly annoyed." No baby, it just makes sense" as I defended my commentary.

She refused to watch. " I'll just clear the lunch dishes". I paced for what seemed an eternity.

As the time ticked away, Matt @#$% Bryant lined up and kicked the ball. It was a scenario that he, no doubt, has played out in his head a thousand times. That ball cleared the goalpost with a few yards to spare. With my moan, my daughter knew the outcome. You have to give Bryant props, the kick was perfect. Bastard.

I made my obligatory call to my Dad. He just rambled. " I can't believe it. It had to be a record. Who is he? Never heard of him. I am too old for this.." He hung up to watch the interview with the man of the hour.

Maybe it was the Floridian heat, this week the Eagles offense did not get into a rhythm until the fourth quarter. It was just ugly. The Eagles managed to come back from a 17 point hole that they dug for themselves. With four seconds left the Eagles were up by one.

Who would have thought that a previously unknown kicker would have a SportsCenter moment at the expense of my Eagles?

Final score: Tampa 23, Eagles 21.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Sympathy for the She-Devil

Last Monday I received a call from my older brother. " Hey Sis, are you sitting down?" It makes me crazy when he starts a conversation that way. What follows is never good. I held my breathe and asked " Are there any accidents, pregnancies and/or dead bodies?" We are the sandwich generation. Harsh but fair questions. No, he assured me. But if you are not sitting down, you better.

I love my brother, but he can be sooo slow getting to a point. "Well?" I said trying not to be short with him. "Pop Pop left Grammy on Saturday. "Are you kidding me?" I couldn't contain my laughter. Pop Pop and Grammy are his in-laws.

I have known this pair for about 20 years. Grammy is bar none the nastiest person on the planet. Think about this for a second. I have worked in the insurance industry for 20 years and this in meanest person that I have EVER encountered. She reminded me of Roseanne Barr's TV character at her worst. My daddy once said " She will never die because God doesn't want her messin' up his Heaven."

From my encounters with Pop Pop he is a soft-spoken, loyal Eagles fan with a off beat sense of humor. My brother's children absolutely adore him. Behind closed doors he could be different. But, I doubt it.

Pop Pop and Grammy have been married for 56 years. It is my understanding that Grammy never had to work outside of the home. While they lived modestly, Grammy never wanted for anything.

As with most break ups it is usually what is perceived to most, a minor event that pushes a person into action. But, that event is the final straw. Pop Pop's straw came in the forms of dishes.

Pop Pop did not "do the dishes" to the satisfaction of Grammy. She felt compelled to bitch about it for two hours. Two flippin' hours. WTF?! I guess something snapped. He started packing his suitcase. He called a mutual friend and confided his woes. She said " Big Daddy, you've been putting up with her crap for too long, bring it."

Everyone was stunned. It did not stop the toxic waste that flowed from Grammy's mouth." You're children and grandbabies will never speak to you again," she screamed as he shuffled toward the door.

He called my brother from his new home. I am not sure of what the final chapter of this story will bring. If Pop Pop's new living arrangements bring him joy good for him. Life it too short to be miserable. He served his time in Hell.

Pop Pop is a diabetic. He told my brother that he was going to visit his doctor to get some of those little blue pills. I surmised that for the first time in a long time Pop Pop wants the intimacy that comes from sex. My brother's interpretation was a little different and probably more accurate. Hooray for him. Something we all can aspire to at 78. I think he will be ok. (I confess that chatting about these folks taking a tumble was a little disturbing.)

My brother is worried about his wife's reaction to this recent turn of events. She is upset. They are her parents. His kids wondered why it took so long.

However, after the amusement and sheer audacity of the event died down, I felt a sadness. A sadness for a human being to have lived for over seventy years and created a dynamic that has left her alone. I am sure there is more to her than I have been privy to.

My prayer for Grammy is that her heart softens and her tongue is less toxic. I hope that she finds if not joy, peace.

Monday, October 16, 2006

It's not easy being an Eagle's Fan

Ok, I must admit I have scheduled my weekends in the fall around my beloved Eagles for as long as I can remember. Due to life's circumstances, my friend and I traveled to New England Columbus Day weekend. We stayed with friends who converted a "cottage" bed and breakfast into a private home. This "cottage" which is located in Bar Harbor has seven bedrooms and bathrooms. Our host friends provided a wonderful place to stay, wonderful conversation and awesome food. We had such a good time it was really hard to leave. The original plan was to leave Sunday morning in enough time to land in Concord, MA to be settled for the start of THE game.

My friend and I hit the road after we had a wonderful lunch that included fresh popovers and tea a local favorite. The weather and the scenery were spectacular. At the mid-point of our journey, my baby called. She, rightfully, was concerned if I was going to see the kickoff. She was horrified that I was in a car and not in front of the tube. So she decided to provide updates. (I have a great kid.) So between her play by play and updates from the NY channels we could pick up, it was the best I could do. At one point we managed to pick up a Philly station for a fleeting moment. The voice of Merrill Reese was music to my ears. Because the universe has a cruel sense of humor we couldn't keep the channel. UGH.

My friend was equally amused and sympathetic to my plight. The game was back and forth. Each time there was a score my cell phone rang. My daughter has the makings of a play by play analyst. She was filled with glee when that former Eagle dropped a perfectly thrown pass AND he was wide open. The Philly fans responded appropriately with a BOOOOOOOO and the chant O.D, O.D. Brotherly love at its best.

The Eagles send the worst crybaby player and the dreaded Cowboys (BOOOO) packing. After we landed in Concord, MA, we found an adequate restaurant, then we retreated to our rooms. She blogged and I found a sports channel to watch the game highlights. Thank God for ESPN.

This past Sunday, the Eagles played the Saints. The poor young lady who braids my hair was stuck with me this week. My daughter tracked me down to make sure that I was near a TV. Unfortunately, I actually saw the game.

I guess the offense did not make the trip to New Orleans. Or maybe the playbook was lost in a piece of luggage. Philadelphia has to be the second worst airport in the country. Santa Barbara is number one. The first half was just awful. I guess the airport services finally delivered the offensive team and the playbook at half time.

Reggie Brown played a good game. The defense prevented the game from being a good old fashioned asswhippin'. The Saints are a good team. If there was a loss, this was one of the better teams to lose to.

Nah. A loss is a loss.

Final score Saints 27, Eagles 24.

To compound the problem, America's team (BOOOOO) won their game.

It's not easy being an Eagle's Fan.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Colin Powell, VP of Gov't Affairs

During the first Gulf War, I would rush home from work to watch the war. The voice of James Earl Jones, the faces of Blitzer and Powell became virtual guests in my home. I confess that the first time I laid eyes on Colin Powell, I was thrilled. How cool was it that someone who could have passed as a member of my family held such a prominent position in the military?

Clearly he did what he had to do to make it in an entity that is a microcosm of our society, historically racist. Good for him, good for the military, good for our country. Powell was articulate (code used by white folks to infer that he speaks English), smart and handsome.

A military rock star. When he retired from the military, he was paid well to speak at corporate events. He was recruited by both parties to run for elected office.

To the surprise of no one, Georgie the son added him to his team. A shameless, yet effective, means of recruiting minorities to the Republican party. The Powell addition was the lead story and front page news for the MSM. Little did the country know at the time, his selection was like corporate America's diversity practices in the early eighties. Minorities were recruited to positions such as VP of community or government affairs. Nice title, nice office, great photo op, no meaningful responsibilities. Rarely, were they groomed in operations or finance where the real decisions were made. When the "team photo" is taken, the appearance of diversity is captured. But if you remain on the bench and are not given the opportunity to contribute, what difference does it make?

The beauty about "making it" in our country, subjects one to criticism. I have read comments on some very popular blogs such as the Democratic Veteran suggesting Powell was used by this administration. Bullshit.

I respect Powell the man enough to question his judgment in joining this administration in the first place. Powell permitted himself to be used. According to excerpts from his latest bio he finally "blew up" on his last day of the job. Who cares?

In my opinion, Powell was clearly the only adult in the room. He was the only one who embraced his military responsibilities when Cheney was too busy being a husband, Georgie was tying one on and Ms. Rice was practicing the piano. He knew what a mess invading Iraq would be. Yet, armed with nothing but his credibility he passionately presented an argument to go to war before the UN.

I could be wrong, but I don't think he needed the money. He missed his opportunity to be the man we all hoped and thought that he was/is and resign in protest. If Powell walked away at that point, his departure would have raised eyebrows. Even if he said nothing, his silence would screamed volumes.

For him to him to pipe up now is a sad end to what could have been a wonderful legacy. Throughout history, men and women have stood up when it counted. Mr. Powell quietly sat on the bench.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Football is a violent game

Chris Simms, the embattled quarterback for the Buccaneers, suffered a ruptured spleen in the game against the Panthers.

His spleen was removed after the game. Simms is out of danger. Who won? Who cares?

Please keep this kid and his family in your prayers.

They're Back, Eagles Win

The defense showed up big time when the Eagles traveled to Candlestick Park and faced the San Francisco 49ers. In the first half, Jimmy Johnson's boys only permitted 3 points. The Eagles management was wise to pay Johnson a boatload of money to keep him in the fold. He is a brilliant Defensive Coordinator. Teams fear his defensive strategies. McNabb did begin the game with a little old school flea-flicker which led to an early touchdown by the offense. After last week's second-half conservatism, this play got the game off to a great start.

After last week's fourth quarter collapse, the defense played like men on fire. Brian Dawkins, arguably the best Safety in the league was everywhere. In the third goal line stance in the third quarter he knocked himself out. He did not return to the game. But he did not have to.

His teammates on both sides of the ball stepped up and recovered from last week's train wreck.

In what appeared to be a slow speed chase, Michael Patterson recovered a fumble and ran for 98 very slow yards. Clearly, the highlight of the game.

The reports that Eagles are without competent wide receivers are as accurate as the looming success in Iraq. Brown & Baskett managed the receiving duties admirably in Stallworth's absence. He is sidelined with a hamstring injury.

The fourth quarter wasn't pretty. The play was sloppy and undisciplined. There were far too many dumb penalties. The Eagles need to clean this up. Against a stronger opponent, they would have lost.

But a win is a win. Eagles 38, 49ers 24.

The Cowboys (BOOOOOO) had a bye this week so there is nothing to report. Let's hope for #20's speedy recovery.

The Corner Office

The corner office is the most coveted location in Corporate America. It represents success and power. Oh Whatever. I have mixed feelings about my office. The good news it is big, has a wonderful view and blessedly a door. On the other hand, I must walk by my staff in order to get to my office. At times I feel like I am running the gauntlet. Most mornings, I do not make it to my office before I am assailed by my staff. {Please note that I have an "open door" policy. I have never required my staff or make an appointment to see me.} To date, I have yet to be faced with a crisis that could not wait until I actually reached my office.

Last week, was particularly challenging. I don't know whether everyone was suffering post traumatic stress associated with the latest restructuring; the astrological changes; or they have just exhausted my patience.

The final crisis to be dealt with was an e-mail that a new employee sent to one of her peers and carbon copied me.

Did I need to be copied on it? Nope.

Knowing that the employee to whom she sent the e-mail would take offense, I asked the new employee why copied me. NE said that she worked for micro-managers who have punished her when her coworkers did not share client intelligence. When I reminded her that my management style was not even close to that, she was horrified. Her intentions were not to get the OE in trouble. She just wanted to document the request.

The Old Employee was so enraged that she had a temper tantrum in my absence. I had the nerve to attend a scheduled business lunch. Upon my return, I found that the OE got the entire department worked up over this e-mail.

Even after I informed the OE that I chatted with the NE, it was clear to me the OE just wanted to be angry. I let the OE begin her weekend early. What the OE has not figured out, this was not good, for her.

Fear and neither employee giving the other the benefit of the doubt is what led to this situation. What a shame.

At the suggestion of my best friend, I am finally using the door. I find that I need it for my own psychic well-being.

All things considered, I think I prefer the location of my old office. It was smaller but it was close to the front door.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Iraq for Sale

War profiteering and outsourcing are not new. Throughout our country's history, businessmen took advantage of war time to make money. Ugly but true. There was a time in our history when news reporters investigated these practices and stayed with the story until an elected official DID something.

HOWEVER, words can not begin to describe the new lows that Halliburton, KBR, CACI, Blackwater (just to name a few) have reached.

I joined my best friend and a gang of folks who convene at a local Drinking Liberally to take in the movie "Iraq for Sale: War Profiteering."

I consider myself to be well informed. To be frank I did not think this administration and our" do nothing" Congress could shock me. I was so wrong. What is happening to our troops is treason. I am filled with despair.

They have outsourced this war and put our country in jeopardy. I doubt that the subcontractors sign non-competes or confidentiality agreements. So whatever military information that they have been privy to leaves Iraq with them. After the cold war Russian scientists sold their expertise to the highest bidders.Are we so naive to think this would not happen again? These folks are performing jobs that have historically been performed by members of our military. As a member of the military there are some things that you are bound by. And yet, I am supposed to feel safer. When the waste, abuse and war crimes were brought to the attention of Congress, the truck driving witnesses were ridiculed. If they were well spoken management types would they have been treated better? Not to worry, these folks were not supervised or managed.

The theater was full and the audience engaged. This gave me some hope for my nation. The first question for the post movie panel was, what can we do? Of course the response was to take action. The movie is not being shown in traditional venues. The DVD is 12 bucks. The hosting package is a whopping 20 dollars.

What am I going to do?

Check my mutual funds and make sure that none of the companies involved in this nightmare are in my portfolio.

Buy the DVD and the hosting package and host a party.

Support candidates who have not taken money from the PACs or lobbyists affiliated with the companies mentioned in this movie.

It is time to think about we as citizen taxpayers have been exploited.

Monday, September 18, 2006

While we slept

"So long as people do not care to exercise their freedom, those who wish to tyrannize will do so; for tyrants are active and ardent, and will devote themselves in the name of any number of god, religious and otherwise to put shackles upon sleeping men." -Voltairine de Clyde

"We the People" just love anniversaries. This goes back to the founding of our great nation. Recently, we got caught up in the one-year anniversary of Katrina, and the five-year anniversary of 9/11. Both are nightmares for our country. Barely a blip on the radar screen of our collective consciousness was the anniversary of the Constitution.

Life was first breathed into this document on September 17th. Maybe "We the People" have accepted the notion that while we slept, this administration stole our democracy. While they proport to spread democracy in a region that clearly has not requested our version of reality, "We the people" gave away our rights willingly because they did not want to "embolden the enemy." Well, the enemy is us.

Freedom of speech was the first to go. Anyone who questions this administration is called unpatriotic and gutless. The Congress that is supposed to provide a major check and balance is acting like the kid in the high school cafeteria afraid of being called a pussy by the popular jock on the team. (The only way to get rid of that label is to not act like one.)

Thank God for the progressive bloggers and Keith O, trying to keep the principles of the constitution alive. They can't do it alone.

As citizens, we have to WAKE UP and get involved. Voting and making sure your vote is counted is a start. To say this upcoming election is important is not shrill rhetoric.

My God, if the Dems manage to regain this branch of government, they should read the Constitution, grow a set and reclaim our country.

"We the People" need to spend a little time with this document. Only then will we discover what was taken "while we slept."

What a Man

Ryan Howard belted his 57th Homer in the third inning of the Phillies' 6-4 victory over the Houston Astros. The Phillies swept the Astros in their house.

Historically, the Astros have shut down the Phillies this time of the year ending their playoff hopes. The tables have turned this season. With two weeks to play in the regular season, the Phillies are in the hunt. Howard has a shot at MVP title and setting a "clean" seasonal home run record. If opposing teams respect him less and pitch to him, there is no doubt in my mind Howard will hit 62 or more homeruns before the regular season ends.

Ryan Howard, you are the man!

Manning and Buress connect with a walk off TD

A collective groan blanketed the city. You could feel it.

The Eagles led for forty-five minutes. The defense was dominant. McNabb's passes were crisp and flawless. Then the wheels came off the Eagles bandwagon.

My daughter remained optimistic throughout the game. However, my Daddy was concerned with the lack of scoring by the Eagles in the second half. When McNabb was called for offsides, I thought Dad's head would explode. (I am still trying to wrap my brain around that call. Ugh.) After that call, my Dad barked at my Mom to put on her shoes, the game was over. My daughter bellowed, "Pop Pop, you have no faith! There is plenty of time." Dad reminded her how old he was and he just knew. My folks did not leave but as in most cases, parental wisdom was dead on.

In what seemed like a bad recurring dream, the Eagles in a slow painful manner handed the game to the Giants.

The offense was too conservative. What is so wrong with burying an opponent? You will not amass negative Karma. It's football, for God's sake. After this asswhippin' at home, we can only hope that Reid finds the killer instinct required to win a game like this one in my lifetime.

Props to young Eli Manning for running a come-from-behind, no-huddle offense. His play calling and execution elevated him to position of leader on his team.

To add to my misery, the Cowboys beat the Redskins, 27-10. It's going to be a long season.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

It Takes a Sportscaster to Save a Country

My affection for Keith Olberman dates back to his SportCenter days. I became reacquainted with his work through his version of news, MNBC's Countdown. Since this administration seized power, he has been the voice of sanity in what been an insane version of America. When King George was handed the airwaves of the major networks to defend his decision to invade Iraq, blessedly, the next day Keith had a response. It is evident that he takes his role as a citizen seriously.

I shared his response with two co-workers who have only recently begun to pay attention to world events. (For whatever the reason, I will take it.) The boys suddenly have something to work with. They are both sports nuts, so I mentioned Keith's commentary. (Much to my horror, they did not know that he was back on the tube. But I digress.) Since they were fans, I seized the moment. I asked the sales rep to shut the door in my office. I fired up the old computer and let Keith work his magic.

When the piece concluded we sat quietly for a bit, then we talked for an hour. Yes, ladies, two grown men talked voluntarily for about an hour. Between the two of them they have four children under three. They are concerned about the mess that is being left for their babies.

History has shown that it is usually an average man who starts a revolution. Maybe this time, it will be a sportscaster.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Stallworth the Missing Link

The Eagles beat the Texans yesterday getting the season off to a good start. McNabb spread the ball nicely ensuring a balanced offense. A running game was evident throughout the game. A necessity to be successful late in the season. Although Donte' Stallworth joined the Eagles about ten days ago you would never know it. He went deep a couple of times. He was 6-141. I'll take those numbers any day. He scored without fanfare. I do not love the endzone celebrations, but Stallworth's businesslike approach when he scores is a welcome change. I think it is safe to say the stench of that other guy has been cleansed from the Eagles locker room.

The icing on the cake was the Dallas loss to New Orleans. The other guy went 6-80 and was clearly winded at the end of the game. I guess he should have spent more time on the football field during the pre-season than doing his Lance Armstrong imitation.

A perfect way to start the work week.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

"Maybe if I clean up my sidewalk, they will too"

My best friend was born and raised in the big city. She served her time in suburbia. This past spring, when it was time for her to move, returning to the city was a no brainer. Her home is a cute one-bedroom nestled above a music store that specializes in the teaching and repair of violins. A Chinese restaurant is on the corner, an African American-owned newspaper is next door. Across from her is a neighborhood revitalization project. The condos are scheduled for completion the end of October, early November. To know my friend is to appreciate the hustle and bustle surrounding her new home. The street noise and activities may be an intrusion for some; she soaks up the energy with amusement. She grew up in a urban Catholic working-class home. Her father worked four jobs to feed the five he helped give life to with his sacred sperm. Although her intelligence is without question, attending college was not a viable option for her after she graduated high school. Her parents were thrilled because she got married the "right way" before she had her two boys.

After her divorce, she took her artistic skills to a local newspaper. Despite the awards she won for her writing, her upward movement in this field was hampered by her lack of a four-year degree. Her curious nature has led her to study Jung, astrology, music, art, revolutionary war history and current events. She was posting her on-line diary before it became a movement. If she were a boy, during a different era, she would be hailed as a Renaissance man. I lay this out for you to get a feel for the woman behind the "cause of the day."

A couple of weeks ago, she decided to clean up her portion of the sidewalk. She was tired of stepping over the trash in front of her door. Did I mention the fact that she is a Libra? "Maybe if I clean up my sidewalk, they will, too," she said hopefully. Trash cans are placed strategically on the sidewalk. So the mission began. Every day, she swept her sidewalk. Whether it was a sudden sense of responsibility or the guilt of watching this middle-aged uberblonde woman cleaning up their trash, her neighbors started cleaning up their sidewalk. When I met her at her place to go to a play, I looked around and was thrilled. Her block was clean. Maybe she was too close to the situation to notice. When I saluted her good deeds, she just smiled.

It is so easy to point out other people's failings versus taking a personal inventory of how one's action's or inactions could have created the situation - or made it worse.

Someone smarter than I has suggested that you should clean up your own sidewalk. My friend is applying this principle to all areas of her life. By owning and cleaning up our crap, there will be a ripple effect in the universe. If we all clean up our sidewalk, whether this means spiritually, emotionally or physically, like my friend, the world will no doubt be a nicer place.

Where did I put my broom?

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Baby what a big surprise

When I assumed my current position, the president of the company asked me what I needed to be successful. My response: a salesperson dedicated to my product. We had this chat almost two years ago; the request was ignored.

There have been no new sales and a couple of accounts have left for various reasons. The result? Earnings are down. What is amusing, he just wrote to me and the CFO, demanding answers.

I failed to listen to my own 24 hour rule, which is: "Don't respond to dumb e-mails in the first 24 hours." (Let's put it this way, the CFO said that I should have captioned the response "No Sales, No revenue, Dumb Ass.") This is not complicated. Have a product, sell a product. This no different than a slumping hitter. He has to see the ball and hit the ball, period. Now the spotlight is on our division. The new owners will either try to save, sell or let us continue to wither away.

Time will tell.

Ladies like the long ball...

The Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard has crushed the ball 53 times so far this year. The season is just heating up.

What makes this remarkable is, this young team was written off. Even GM Pat Gillick stated publicly these kids would not be competitive until 2008. What the nation is seeing is teamwork in action.

Howard and Chase Utley have emerged as the leaders of this team. There is no trash talking on or off the field. They are just getting it done. Utley ended his post all-star break slump Monday with a walk off home-run.

Ooo, baby. Ladies like the long ball.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Welcome Fall, Go Eagles

After a few days of what seemed like endless rain, the sun returned yesterday. Much to my joy, today the air is crisp and the sky is blue. As the summer comes to an end, football season (at least for me) begins next Sunday. My friends know that I am watching the game. Other Sunday activities are suspended until the season ends. When all eyes were on Dallas (BOOO), during the pre-season, my beloved Eagles put together a nice little football team. I loved Fraley, Simeneau and Detmer but there are only 53 roster spots and they had to go. Feeley, returns, Baskett, and Stallworth have plugged in the holes quite nicely.

I grew up watching the Eagles with my Daddy, brothers and insane cousins. When we did not converge in somebody's living room, the phone lines were burning up. My mom does not answer the phone on game day. Pop knows it is one of us, cussin' or cheering. My baby, who is almost 20 - her first words were [much to her father's horror] "Jesus Christ!" and "Son of a bitch!" She would watch the game with a "swear cup" and rake in the quarters. Unfortunately, her sweetie, her man, is a Cowboys fan. (BOOOO). Talk about sleeping with the enemy. Ugh.

It won't be pretty, but while that guy is destroying yet another locker room, the Eagles are going to sneak into the play offs.

Fly, Eagles, Fly!

Saturday, September 02, 2006

"Because I want to be like them."

The mid-term election will be here before we know it. The administration has taken to calling those who do not fall into lockstep with the decision to go to war in Iraq fascists. Nice. The last time that I checked I live in America. Under my Constitution, I have a right to an opinion even if it does not agree with the government. I do not agree with anything this administration has done but they are permitted to speak. I would defend that right. While Bushie and company are putting our Constitution in the shredder, outsourcing jobs and blowing through a budget surplus faster than a teenager with daddy's credit card, what are the Democrats doing? Engaging in a verbal dance about whether they represent the poor black people or middle class white folks.

Are you kidding me?

During the recent housing boom, Mr. & Mrs. Middle America bought more house because the interest rates were so low. Or worse they think they got more for their money because of ARMs. The fast-talking mortgage brokers glossed over the fine print. But predatory lending only happens to "those" people.

Winter is fast approaching which means increased energy usage. More house, more energy. I don't know about you but I haven't seen a decrease from my energy supplier in the 20 years that I have been paying my bills.

If Mr. & Mrs. America admit it, they are one paycheck away from being one of "those" people. A day doesn't go by that it is reported that Americans are not saving. ANYTHING. To compound the problem, Americans are spending more than they are taking in. White-collar raises are not keeping pace with the cost of living increases.

How are they taking care of the bills? Credit cards. The average person doesn't read the fine print on the credit card solicitation with any greater care than the mortgage. Nor have they been reading the fine print associated with the tax cuts that this administration has insisted upon. I am all for tax breaks, but I do not spend more than I take in. Eventually, you and I will have to pay our home and government's bills.

I forgot, bad things only happen to "those" people. Oh, the list is endless: from being "lazy" to "lack of desire." Bullshit.

Many of the jobs that provide a living wage are gone. I doubt that the seniors who are bagging groceries in the yuppie grocery store are doing it just to get out of the house. I suspect they are there because the corporations did not fund the pensions. Those people worked for corporations 20-30 years, helped them make a lot of money for the shareholders for the promise of retiring with a pension. When it was time for the corporations to deliver on their end of the promise they change the rules, with the government's permission. The ERISA statute was shredded before the Constitution.

The Dems have assumed that poverty only exists in the colored community and that the only leaders in the minority community are Jesse, Julian and Al. These assumptions have made the poor white people and religious middle class blacks easy prey for the Republican party.

The Republicans appeal to the average American's ego. The average American is more inclined to think he or she will become rich versus becoming one of those poor people. The fear and disillusion are palatable. The Republicans frame their message in plainspeak. Why? Because it works. The Democratic leadership refuses to speak so that they are heard. The result is that traditional Democrats have left the party - or simply stay home on election day.

One of my sales reps is a thirty-something father of three whose wife has the privilege of not working outside the home.

He was the first member in his card-carrying Catholic family to get a four-year degree. He is a registered Republican. Knowing his roots, I ask him why. "Because I want to be like them," was his explanation. I almost fell out of my chair. THEM? "Who is 'them'?" I challenged.

"Them" are rich, have nice homes, cars and send their kids to the best schools.

He wants to be rich. His wife has a master's degree in education, but insists that she stay home. This is his version of the American dream. As he pursues this dream, terror of not making his numbers and losing his job is everpresent. Fear is what drives him. He wants to be affiliated with a winner. The Republicans win. He pays more attention to the sports section than the opinion page. When he bothers to vote, he votes for the Republicans because the Democrats remind him of where he came from, not where he is going. To not make the six figures he is making is to consider himself a loser. Hmmmm.

The Dems have an opportunity to save themselves and the country if they have a clear concise, positive message that includes the poor and working-class, and the middle class, too - what is left of it.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Happy Birthday, Rest in Peace

A good manager has to get to know her employees without getting too familiar. This is a challenge. Temp employees present a different dilema. It is harder to get to know them if you really want to, because you may not keep them. I learned yesterday AB and her nephew shared a birthday. For 18 years, they had a special bond. Now her birthday will be a reminder of his brief stay on this earth. Sigh. He lives in a neighborhood that is and has been a war zone. Running drugs, carrying guns are commonplace. Most of the boys do not expect to live past 18. Some have never been out of their neighborhood until they make their first and only limo ride to their grave. Where are their parents? Strung out on drugs, in jail or worse, dead. The ones that make it out alive move to another neighborhood or city.

This urban problem has spilled into the workplace, which is truly a microcosim of society. Front-line managers and human resouce pros have to assist the employee family members dealing with the collateral damage that comes with living with these issues. Your workplace becomes their refuge.

If you listen to the ones who got out, these kids see these drug dealers riding in nice vehicles, wearing nice clothes and caring a ton of cash. By the time they are 13 these kids know where to obtain the arms and drugs. 13!!

The managers of these organizations reach out to the kids because if busted, they will end up in juvey. The busted child is replaced within minutes. Can you replace staff that quickly and seamlessly? I can't. If only those organizational skills were put to use for something legal. Think about it: they have an organization chart, clear-cut division of labor, marked territories, sales, distribution and of course, collections. A legal team is on call to care of any problems that may arise. They are schooled never to sample the product.

I guess the next question is, why not legalize the drugs and have the government regulate it, like it does with alcohol and cigarettes?

It has been determined that substance abuse is a disease. It should be treated as such. Those underage who chose to experiment with alcohol and cigarettes manage to get their hands on it. Suburbanites have the healthcare coverage or have jobs that provide employee assistance programs. Mel Gibson lost his mind on alcohol. His handlers got him a good attorney and put his backside in a rehab clinic. What happens to the poor? Do not pass go, go directly to jail.

The music videos are not helpful. Those wannabe rappers live in multi-million dollar gated communities. Most of them had mundane childhoods and are making money and presenting a facade to the impressionable youth. You would think with the deaths of Tupac and Biggie Smalls they would connect the dots. These young musicians have a responsibilty to their customers. But their target market is off mimicking what they see in these videos. Not a good marketing strategy.

By decriminalizing this issue, you will shut down an industry. You can set up a counter in the stores where you can buy alcohol, you will be subjected to carding. The taxes made off of the product would be used to rehab those who want to deal with the problems that led them to become an addict in the first place.

Do you buy AB cake - or a case of tissues?

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

'May I leave early?'

Yesterday, one of my temporary employees was desperately trying to get my attention. She's one of my lower-maintenance employees, so when she stuck her head in the third time, I knew there was a problem.

AB has been with my company for about six months. As with most temps, she's working in this capacity because she has a host of family problems. Blessedly, her chronically ill father finally passed, relieving her of the daily burden/drama of Code Blues. She's the responsible member of the family - therefore, she's always on call. In the past two months, her life had settled down and she was taking the necessary steps of returning to school for nursing.

Her return to normalcy was interrupted with the shooting death of her nephew.

Far too many of our black men are lost to violence. Disputes used to be resolved verbally or worst-case scenario, a brief fistfight. Now arguments are resolved permanently. A generation of black men has been and continues to be destroyed by violence.

The women are left to pick up the pieces of the shattered family. Children are the biggest victims in this Shakespearean tragedy being playing out in our urban communities. The death took place in the city but the ramifications spill over into the suburban workplace. I don't know the details surrounding the death of this young man - he was either in the middle of a situation gone horribly wrong or simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Most people look away or ask the dreaded question, "What did he do to deserve it?" Both reactions are common and very sad. The violent act and society's response are equally unacceptable. This just rips at my spirit. To think it doesn't ripple through all communities is absurd and naive. Those who can run from the cities and live in gated communities. Isn't creating your own little prison? As "those people" move into the suburbs, white folks move further out.

I grew up in a rural blue-collar black community. My parents and the other adults in the neighborhood went to work every day. My parents were involved in the church, PTA and the civil rights movement. The lawns were well groomed. My brothers and I were advised early and often that God, education and hard work were necessities to survive in the white world. We were told that we would have to be better than our white counterparts to even get an opportunity to compete. To expect fair treatment was to ensure disappointment. My parents fought for us to be respected and get a decent education in a school where blacks represented seven percent of the population. This administration's "No Child Left Behind" has focused on test taking AND is chronically underfunded.

I point this out because I didn't grow up in an urban setting. I cannot begin to understand how a generation can be so lost. Could it be that in this day and age of political correctness, the bar is lower and kids are not being given a decent education? This, compounded with the lack of decent paying jobs available once the basics of education are achieved?

In this global economy, India and Pakistan's middle class has grown at the expense of America's.

Why are black men so angry? How would you feel if you are walking down the street and a white person not so discreetly crossed? How would you feel if you are followed around in a store? How would you feel when you are driving a nice car and you are pulled over for no reason? How would you feel if you are in a restaurant with a white employee and the waitstaff addresses them and hands them the check? (If you are even seated in a timely manner.)

What about petty crime? A white kid's parents are called and he's released with a smack on the wrist, the whole incident dismissed as "growing pains". A black youth in the same situation is channeled into the criminal justice situation. How about lack of mentors in the workplace? White men reach out to the men who look like them and show them the ropes. Black men are pushed into a corner because there is this underlying fear that their wives, girlfriends and daughters may want to have sex with them. (Don't believe me? I have had bosses dumb enough to share their thoughts and fears with me. Nice.)

These are activities of daily living that white people take for granted. If you were treated this way, wouldn't you be angry?

I have had white men fall all over themselves to share their wisdom. Whatever their motivation, it has helped me get to a place where I can develop people who look like me.

The good news is that in my little corner of the world, there is a group of black men who are stepping up and returning to these communities to try to save these men. It will be the grassroots campaign that is underreported by our "liberal media"
that may save these men and the community.

What can you do? The next time you see a black man on the street, make eye contact and say hello. Keep AB in your prayers. It's a start.

Monday, August 21, 2006

New Beginnings

Welcome to my blog. The purpose is to share the insanity - the frustrations and joy that take place in my work environment & life on this lovely planet. The management initiatives that I have to implement are absurd. My clients are just mean. Most are mid-level risk managers who no doubt are treated like crap, so I guess it is the "kick the dog" dynamic. The most important part of my job is staff development. It is very challenging and rewarding, but it requires a lot of patience.

My staff are a diverse gang: socially, economically, ethnically and age-wise. The one thing they have in common is a constant need for validation - and they all experience hot flashes or PMS at the same time. The boys suddenly have client visits when they see the commercial size bag of Lays potato chips and the Hershey kisses in the employee breakroom. The boys make up the core of the sales force. Tall, good looking, very insecure but make lots of money. Whatever they promise the clients, the operations/claims team has to figure out how to deliver it. (Or convince the clients that they really bought something else.)

I report directly to the President of my division. He is my third boss in four years.

All three had different management styles which has resulted in psychological whiplash for me and my remaining staff. My current management team has embraced the accounting concept of EBITDA or earnings before the bad stuff. It's all bullshit. The current initiative is the remodeling of our regional office. Anytime you can spent $200,000 on renovations but can't part with $20,000 for salary increases is just nonsense.

I will have this lovely office and I will be in it alone. Because the staff, if they have half a brain, will seek employment elsewhere. What we do has yet to be outsourced overseas.

Insurance is the one service that you pay for it and have to fight like hell to get your claims processed. Nice. Claim adjusters are the red-headed stepchildren. WHY? We are the product/cost center. We pay claims, we spend the money. The only folks lower on the food chain are underwriters. They are the poor slobs who recommend what customers to write. Unfortunately for them, customers who have no claims prior to the company writing the program always have an employee who falls asleep at the wheel and drives over a family of six who are on their way to church. When that claim is sent up the dreaded flagpole, Upper Management's response isn't "What a shame," but "What bastard wrote that account?"

Burnout is a common occurrence in my field, so hobbies are mandatory. I confess I am a pathetic Eagles fan. The Eagles are not even worthy of a curse. The Eagles have broken my heart for a very long time. But my friends know where to find me on Sunday afternoons. Like a lover who is not good for me, I keep returning. My prediction for the upcoming season: 10-6.

Politics and history are passions of mine. I earned my B.A. in history/political science. (A perfect foundation for a career in insurance.) This passion and the lack of leadership in D.C. has led me to get involved politically. I have adopted a couple of progressive candidates: Lamont,Sestak, Ford, P Murphy and L Murphy. I have and will continue to give them time and money.

The most important role I play in life is that of Citizen. If I slack on in this role, nothing else matters.

Your comments and indulgence are welcome.