Transition

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Transition.

Pivot.

Let’s hope there is actually a “climate change” in government.

We can hope, right?

Even if the doubt looms large, we can still hope.

One man’s…

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Perspective, or point of view, makes a big difference in how you or others view something. When it really comes down to it, no one perspective is correct because everyone sees things just a little bit differently. Two people can experience the exact same thing, yet have different views about what happened, how it happened, who it happened to, and what happened afterwards.

One man’s patriot is another man’s terrorist.

When I was teaching my history classes and specifically a class on modern terrorism I used to challenge my students’ thought by giving them the phrase above. It is based on the statement, “One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.” I have researched who may have first uttered these words, but I can’t find anything that definitively gives attribution, so I can’t give you that info. But, that isn’t really the point.

Who defines a patriot and a terrorist really comes down to perspective or interpretation. There is no one definition that can truly encompass what the words actually mean. As such, it almost always comes down to who has the power to define the people, the actions, and the result. As Michael Bhatia of Brown University puts it, “…it’s about power, authority, and legitimacy.”

Now, he is talking specifically about international terrorism in general, but I think we can apply the situation and phrase to many different historical events because there are always two sides to take a look at.

  • The leaders in Britain saw the colonists as insurrectionists, terrorists, etc. as the colonists fought to create the United States. But the colonists saw their own people as freedom fighters, patriots, etc. because they were standing up to the tyranny of England.
  • The American military saw Iraqis in Iraq as terrorists when they blew up convoys, attacked bases and outposts, and killed Americans whether they were in the military or not. But the Iraqis saw the American military as an invading occupier and those who fought against the occupier were freedom fighters and patriots.
  • The leadership in South Africa saw the South Africans fighting for their rights and freedoms as insurrectionists and terrorists, but Nelson Mandela and his followers saw themselves as a freedom fighters and patriots.
  • Fidel Castro and his followers viewed themselves as patriots and freedom fighters who liberated their island from the right wing government and imperialist international interests while the government and international community viewed him as an insurrectionist and terrorist.

These are but a few examples. The point is, those in power have the ability to define anything and anyone as they see fit. We can’t let them define situations and people so easily without a little common sense and critical thinking.

What happened at the capitol last week can be viewed in much the same way. Are we going to let the media and those in power dictate who is a patriot and who is a terrorist? The use of either word has strong connotations behind them and if not used carefully, as in just throwing them around to fit a political agenda, it could harm people and ideas, and most importantly freedoms. It could keep people from standing up and fighting for their rights when there is legitimate cause to do so.

We must be careful when defining who is a patriot and who is a terrorist, because if we aren’t then the terms can too easily be manipulated for political purposes, which in turn allows us to be manipulated for political gain.

Masks

man wearing hoodie and mask

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My idiot governor has now “mandated” the use of masks statewide.

I hate the idea. Many, many, many people hate the idea.

The science is all over the place and if there was no need to do it previously (remember, they told us not to…because they were afraid there would be a shortage but now any old piece of fabric supposedly works) than what is the need now?

Power.

Government officials feel their power slipping away. In this state’s case, its likely an ego stroking for the governor too.

So, here we go.

To mask, or not to mask? That is the question.

To sheep or not to sheep? Also a question.

 

Red line

red light beams

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Remember the “red line”?

You know, the one about Syria. Where a former President said that if the government of that country took certain actions then that would cross a red line and then action against said government would be taken in a direct and forceful manner? I know you can recall it. Remember how the red line kept moving? How conditions were met, but the red line just kept getting farther away and the requirements kept changing?

Let me submit for your consideration another red line instance.

A red line that keeps moving but for different reasons. This time, it can be seen at some national department levels, but mostly at the state & county & even the city level with certain government officials and this whole pandemic thing.

Remember how we were told the pandemic was coming and there was a red line that couldn’t be crossed or we would be in big trouble?

You know, “flatten the curve” and all that jazz? Let’s “stay home, stay safe” so we can keep our hospitals from being overrun with the sick? So there wasn’t a major lack of supplies and all?

Well, it seems the curve has been flattened and we never actually got to the red line, but for some reason the red line keeps getting pushed farther and farther out.

The first message was, “We need to do this to keep people safe and to keep the healthcare system from being overwhelmed.” Red line 1.

Okay. This is unknown, and temporary, so sure why not? We can do this so we can get more info.

Then the message was, “OK, this seems to be working, so let’s do it for just a little bit longer so testing can catch up.” Red line 2.

Seems reasonable, but this might actually not be needed. I am a reasonable adult and can make smart choices and be cautious without being told what I can’t and can’t do.

Now the message is, “We’re going to extend the ‘stay home, stay safe’ order because it worked and there isn’t a vaccine or a cure yet and we think everyone should continue to be isolated while we pick the winners and losers in the economy. Schools, businesses, and public areas may or may not open based on a plan that will take weeks, if not months, maybe years, to implement. Please heed the warnings of forecasts that are about as good as weather reports and trust us that we’re doing this because we know best.”

Red line 3.

So, we are being forced to obey the will of the government, by force in some cases, Constitution and rights be damned. Um, is the government working FOR us or AGAINST us here?

I get the red line. The first one was necessary. The second, questionable. But the third? Not so much.

There are few things more irritating than changing expectations or goals that can’t be met because the goal line keeps changing.

As citizens, I think it is time to step up and let the government know, again, who draws the lines and what we are willing and not willing to do, and when we are willing to do it.

 

 

40%

batch books document education

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We, as in our office (which is in a separate location from the “head office”), got an update on the policies regarding telecommuting during this health crisis, scare, whatever you wanna call it.

Prior to the outbreak of COVID-19, telecommuting policy said that we could telecommute up to 40% of a work week (two days) and that could only be done on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. I have talked about before how my job could literally be done from anywhere in the world with an internet connection, so 40% for my office is a ridiculous restriction.

Now, with COVID-19 being a thing and recommendations from every level of government (techinically I am a public employee) stating that employees should stay home and telecommute if feasible (again, it is totally feasible for my office) the “head boss” has issued new permissions for telecommuting.

Yesterday’s email said, in effect, “we are allowing telecommuting on Mondays and Fridays now, but we are still limiting overall permission to 40% of the work week, per board policy.” In other words, we are still required to go into our office three days a week! So, if I may paraphrase…policy over people. I gotta say, that right right there is some crappy ass leadership.

I have said it before and I will maintain that I am not an alarmist by any means. I am going about my daily life normally. I went out to eat last night and supported a local business near my home.

This issue I have here is that a public institution is going against the recommendations of the government, the one that funds it, and demanding adherence to a policy which they clearly have been given the green light to alter in this extraordinary time. There is no expectation by me or my colleagues that the alteration would adjust regular practice in the future (though we would like to see that). We just want acknowledgement that our government agency is recognizing the recommendations of the government and that isn’t happening.

I am in the office today. Nearly all of us are. But none of us are happy about it.

 

Power(less)

people wall blur inside

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Traveling in the electronic age is rather interesting, or frustrating, depending on your point of view and experience.

On my vacation last week, I had the opportunity to visit four different airport concourses. All were Southwest Airlines concourses, but I am not actually sure who is responsible for setting them up. Obviously the airport maintains them (cleaning, etc.), but as far as designing and then implementing the design, as I understand, that is up to the airline.

The interesting thing is that all four airports had vastly different designs and amenities. Seattle’s hub, surprisingly, was the most comfortable and there were AMPLE places to plug in the electronic devices. Between a bar looking setup with plugs to all the chairs having plugs and USB ports, there was no fighting over access. As such, there was no possibility of running short on power, but I was just starting my trip so everything was fully powered already.

San Jose’s Southwest concourse was rather dinky and probably the least comfortable of all four, but again the chairs all had plugs and USB ports available so now finding a place to top off the devices wasn’t difficult. Find an open seat (maybe more difficult since it was a small place) and plug in.

Phoenix’s Southwest concourse was actually comfortable, but access to power was rather sparse. Again, I was fully charged so I didn’t need a place to power-up, but if I had there seemed to be a few “bar” looking places spaced throughout the concourse, but the plugs available at these were limited. The seating had no charging capability at all, at least not at the gate I was at and it didn’t look any different any place else.

Finally, Southwest’s Sacramento concourse was a decent size but again the power options were really limited. Again, there were a few of those “bar” options, but again nothing in the chairs. Fortunately, there wasn’t anything that needed topped off for me at this point in my trip. I was conserving power fairly well.

The return trip home was rather eye-opening. I fully expected that what I had available to me on my trip down would be available to me on the way home. That was not the case. I was a little surprised that the airline didn’t have the same amenities available in all of it’s concourses, at least as far as access to power goes. Yes, I know size of the airport and what other comforts available depend highly on the design of the building, but the easiest and most effective way to offer power options to your flyers is to add the chairs with power access right in them. The last two airports, not so much.

So, if you haven’t flown in a while, be prepared to be “powerless” on some legs of your trip. You may have to supply your own as the battle for outlets continues to increase in our electronics driven lives.

Fridge freakout

woman wearing pink knit top opening refrigerator

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I walked in to my cube this morning and there was a dark spot on the carpet, coming directly from the mini-fridge I have…This is not good

My immediate thought is that my fridge has pooped out. It’s happened before. This isn’t my first rodeo with a mini. I have had them for years in my classroom and I brought this one with me when I moved out of teaching. However, the building maintenance guy was less than thrilled when he learned of it but let me keep it since my manager gave me special permission.

Anyway, I start the clean up process. Everything inside was still cold, but obviously the little freezer portion had mostly gone through defrost. My garbage can is half full of paper towels and then my cube neighbor says, after she has just arrived, “Hey, I don’t have any power to my monitors. Do you?” Honestly, I hadn’t even started my computer as I had gone straight into clean-up mode. I then looked at the power strips in my cube, none of the lights were on.

OK, good, this isn’t a fridge issue it’s a power issue. PHEW!

The fridge is now clean again. Guess that doesn’t hurt it. It has been reloaded too.

I don’t think I could handle another appliance going out. In case you are following along, the coffee maker is DEAD. New one will be delivered on Friday. There may be more grumpiness than usual in the morning…


Got an appliance disaster story? Tell me about it.

I’ll stalk you for power

close up photo ofg light bulb

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That’s right, I’m watching. All the time.

I am just waiting for you to make a move. A move out of the room you are in to another room. I am waiting for you to fail at something you have been instructed hundreds of times, at varying volume levels, to do and yet still forget to do.

Again, I am one of those dads…

If you leave the room and leave the light on, you better dang well know I will be right there within minutes to make sure you know you left the light on. TURN OFF THE LIGHT!

I am not Tom Bodett, and I will NOT be leaving the light on for you (in case you didn’t get that reference).

Why is it so hard to remember? Why can’t you turn off the light when you leave the room and turn it back on when you come back in? Why do I have to be the power police?

Perhaps I will install motion detecting light fixtures and remove all the light switches…Oh, then that might actually have to make the teens get up and move once in a while. I might be on to something here…

Anyway, can we just do one thing today? Turn off the lights.

Who else has to deal with this, every. single. day.?

I’ve got the power (or not)!

close up photo of white usb cable

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OK, not really. I am actually kind of a little irritated that I don’t have the power.

I am traveling for work and I am in a hotel (Hilton) for a couple nights. It isn’t a bad room, except for one thing…

The room has all of one USB outlet! Um, hello! How can a modern hotel have only one USB outlet? A newer hotel. Poor planning, don’t ya think? Luckily I have other ways to plug in my devices.

The last time I had to do this, the hotel had six USB outlets in the room. So, I wonder what gives?

What are your travel complaints, irritations, or annoyances?