Archive for August, 2013

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VICTORY GARDENS AND VERTICAL GARDENS

August 21, 2013

Who Knew?   The people tending the Dowling Gardens certainly did, but I just learned this morning that Dowling Gardens will celebrate its 70th Anniversary!  It began as a Victory Garden in 1943. It is one of only two surviving Victory Gardens in the United States.  A partnership with Minneapolis Public Schools, the garden is so popular that the waiting list to get a plot is often 5-6 years!  The 4 acres in the garden are divided into 185 plots with about 300 gardeners.  What a great success story.  These people are serious. If you don’t faithfully keep the weeds away; you are kicked out!  And just like an earlier post on Edible Landscaping (August 12), it is another example of more than just the good taste of home-grown produce…. From- “It’s the community that makes the garden special.  We trade produce and share insights” to “I love the camaraderie.  I have a circle of friends here, and we trade ideas and produce” – there is no doubt.  This is another successful example of community building!

Despite all my childhood complaints about the garden and my personal preference for “Farmer’s Markets”; I seem to be pretty focused on gardens recently.  I was sharing with a friend my experience with the U students gathering input on improvements to the green space at the Affordable Housing location on 4th and Hennepin last week.  I mentioned to him that I had suggested as an idea that we try to connect that little bit of green to the Gateway Green that will begin in the current parking lot on the river side of the Library and go all the way to the riverfront when Gateway Park- now in the planning phase is completed.  It did not need to be a grandiose plan – just an x-shaped something at skyway height  at the Intersection of  3rd and Hennepin that could display hanging pots during the growing season and evergreens in the winter.  I really did not care if they were live or artificial; I was looking for the green connection that one’s eye could follow from the corner of 4th and Hennepin all the way to the Mississippi River…to help these folks feel a part of a bigger whole and perhaps tempt them to venture outside their fenced in world.

That conversation led to another….the original produce market in Minneapolis was nearby.  Why not recreate that market in a raised platform over the intersection as part of a new trend called vertical farming.  One could grow the produce and sell the produce as cars and trucks passed underneath the platform.  I had no idea what vertical farming was.  I have spent some time researching it since. My mind is full of all sorts of new possibilities.

Not to say I am still not just a little nervous about all those bugs that will gather as well.  But, there are lots of possibilities – including offering  folks the space to garden  and in exchange, not only  eat and enjoy the produce themselves, but sell what one does not eat…and while we are at it, we recapture the history of the Gateway and its surrounds in a pretty useful way!

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MEETING DESIGN: The What, Why and How

August 15, 2013

Yesterday, I received the advance copy of the MPI launch of their new initiative – a focus on Meeting Design.  It, along with a supporting case study based on our own collaborative efforts in conjunction with Boston Scientific and the CRV All-employee meetings of 2010-2011, will be introduced to 71 chapters of MPI around the world over the next several months. 

On one hand, I feel like the proud mom, to be even a small part of the movement that grew out of the mid-2000s, that I was experimenting with here in Minneapolis in 2007-2008 with some good successes surrounding the Republican National Convention.  As I was reading and researching and re-thinking the world of “meetings”, Maarten Vanneste was doing the same thing – “popularizing it in his book,  Meeting Architecture, a manifesto (2008)”.

Slowly, the interest and understanding of a new approach to our business grew; the successes happened and were acknowledged in trade press; fortunately for me, a colleague in the industry here in the Twin Cities was also following the transformation and change in thinking and opened the doors to us at Boston Scientific so that we could become the case study that is included in the MPI international launch.

Although I am tempted to use the cliché, “The Rest Is History” – it really is not.  It is only the beginning.

I have associations with several professional organizations – two of which seem to be launching the new approach Big Time this year…and that is a good thing.  Nevertheless, it will not be an easy transition.

I myself am currently working with a client that daily reminds me of the great task ahead as we move forth to try to modernize our own industry.  I have been working with this “Event Team” for 6 weeks now; and long ago lost count of the number of times I have been challenged by two members of this mini-steering committee (who in their professional lives handle meeting logistics for their own organizations).  I have no doubt they are passionate people; that they are passionate about logistics; and they are passionate about being right and doing it their way.  They are not so passionate about collaborative thinking, however – which is, indeed, the very key to the successful transition into the new world before us.

That first step –the Principle of Collaboration is an elusive one for many people. MPI describes it and its importance well:

Tap into the collective intelligence of the group to better understand its needs, generate new ideas, determine best solutions and put plans into action….the wisdom of the crowd is an invaluable resource.  Inherent in every meeting, is the opportunity for change, progress and innovation.”

And so, as I proudly read the final version of the MPI Meeting Design initiative, and the final version of the accompanying case study, and forwarded it to the rest of the team, I was quickly brought back to reality.  

Yesterday was a baby-step forward.  The rollout in MPI Chapters internationally will be baby-steps; the fight for successes in this new world will be baby step after baby step.  The work is not done in modernizing our industry and pulling it – screaming in protest- into the 21st century.

 PCMA is doing a great job in moving forward leading the industry as they have done with forward thinking since their first publication of the book “Professional Meeting Management” in the 1980s that led to the CMP certification process. (And yes, I am as proud to say that I was one of first five CMPs in Minnesota, as I am to say, I am proud to be one of the 5 founders of  the ISES chapter in Minnesota, and proud to be working with MPI to launch the Meeting Design approach all these many years later).

 MPI has now made the initial move; I think ISES is trying to do the same with their new educational approach.  But none of us have learned to walk yet, let alone RUN with these new ideas.  With time, we will get better – just as over time, we got better with the logistical end of our business.

In the meantime, I am comforted to read in the new initiative:

Meeting design challenges the status quo.  It represents a paradigm shift-a profound change in the fundamental meeting model that sees every meeting as a nail for the proverbial hammer of logistics. Logistics is building a house; meeting design is making that house a home….meeting participants needs are evolving beyond satisfying their basic needs for food, shelter, safety, proximity to others and  exposure to others.”

Basic needs:  food, shelter, safety, proximity to others and exposure to others.  Taken out of context, that conjures up man’s move out of the cave and exploration of the world around him, doesn’t it?  Those that were afraid to leave the cave and explore for new opportunities died.  And that’s what makes this exciting! 

“Attendees want innovative, unique experiences that challenge their senses, their expectations, their knowledge and their ideas.  Fulfilling on that is the ultimate value of meeting design.”

 

 

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EDIBLE LANDSCAPE MAKEOVER

August 12, 2013

Last week, the STRIB published the second installment of the “Edible Landscape Makeover” Series, and as I read it, it conjured up many a memory of my youth.

For almost 75 years, the “home of Hap and Bernice Kranz in Rochester was two city lots – one for the house and flower gardens, and one for the food garden.

From my perspective as a kid, this was NOT a good thing.  It not only meant helping to plant 16 rows of potatoes in the spring, but worse, was the strange things we had to eat, and then the “harvesting”.  

Radishes, onions, anything green and leafy, asparagus, broccoli, and eggplant were just the beginnings of the list of “proof” that we were being poisoned.  Tomatoes were acceptable, but did we need a FOREST of them…because sooner or later, we would washing fruit jars to can them.   Picking strawberries or worse, raspberries -with those scary black bugs- was not a treat, but torture.  And being sent to the basement to get potatoes or carrots or a couple big onions harvested in the fall and stored in the fruit cellar was major punishment.  Not only was it dark, but the lurking spiders were sure to attack before you even found the dangling string to turn on the light in there that made the bugs run for cover.

Somehow, we survived, but worse was to come when we were a little older and my mom went off to “work”.  Indeed, this was proof we were abused, as she regularly left a list of “chores” we were to do while she was gone…none of them were fun of course: do the dishes, clean your room, iron your clothes, and start supper – which  often, included afternoon harvesting.  Dig and peel the potatoes; pull a few carrots and onions; pick the tomatoes or strawberries and get them cleaned.  As we moved into fall, the dreaded call for squash, broccoli, or cauliflower got added to the list.  I much preferred the occasional “pick the lilies of the valley, and put them in water in this vase” days, that was for sure – but one still had to be careful of what scary insect or bee might be lurking there or around the holly-hocks or rose bushes as you tried to GET to those pretty little white flowers.

As we complained, she would try to reason with us, saying, “I’m sure your friends whose mothers work are expected to help start dinner” and we would whine “no one else has to  harvest the food they are going to eat; or worse,  fight the monster bugs.”  

It was a constant battle and then one day I was an adult, and realized just how wonderful having that garden was – not only in terms of convenience, but taste and cost-savings…but  only today, did it really occur to me that something else was happening around that garden.

Yes, just like the Edible Estate featured in the STRIB this morning, our mini-“farm” in the midst of the city block also brought the neighbors together.  Most days if Mom or Dad were gardening , there’d be a neighbor visiting over the fence; and once that harvest started, a steady stream of folks coming and going, picking up  a bag of produce because  we had “more than we could eat.”  Who Knew? The Kranz garden was an early creative community building activity and we didn’t even know it!

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A BEAUTIFUL SATURDAY…clouded with some disturbing thoughts:

August 10, 2013

KATHERINE KERSTEN; REVISITED

On July 22, I shared my views of Katherine Kersten’s column in the STRIB regarding the Metropolitan Council and her misguided fantasy of the EVIL lurking in any thought of a regional perspective.

On August 9, I thanked Paul Slack, a local pastor and leader of a group of churches for his comments and for his support of the Met Council in view of Kersten’s editorial.

Today, August 10, an employee of Carmichael Lynch shared his (excellent) perspective on the Met Council as he, too, pointed out the numerous flaws in Kersten’s rationale.

Three different perspectives from three different entities – an individual, a church organization, and a successful business organization- all refute Kersten’s point of view. 

And for that, I feel exonerated! 

Now what do we do about her and the misconstrued and often incorrect “factoids” she spews forth that poison any good conversation on any issue that can only be resolved by openness, listening and coming together of differing perspectives for the common good?

Her continual one-sided insular perspectives often tempt me to respond to her in kind…and that makes me so angry with myself…I have higher expectations of myself than to allow myself to be pulled down into the muck of her self-righteousness unless I remain consistently “On Guard”.  Any good ideas that will stop her in her tracks, pass them on!

CLIMATE CHANGE UPDATE

Four former REPUBLICAN heads of the Environmental Protection Agency – all serving past Republican presidents over the last 40 years  (1970 to 2003) are appealing to their Republican Party to accept Climate Change.

“Obama’s plan is just a start.  More will be required.  But we must continue efforts to reduce the climate-altering pollutants that threaten our planet.  The only uncertainty about our warming world is how bad the changes will get, and how soon.  What is most clear is that there is no time to waste.”

What are the odds, do you think, that this will make any impact on the naysayers?  Unfortunately, I am afraid they are all too busy studying the new (and official) Republican Congressional Recess  script of where to pose for pictures, when to wear a hardhat and which button to push in their brain to generate which allowed response to constituents.

 THE STEPFORD MEN are” FIGHTING WASHINGTON FOR ALL AMERICANS”

Look it up, it is called “Fighting Washington for All Americans” advisory kit…basically a primer their leaders thought they should have for getting good publicity on break….as well as where and when to allow press to cover what they are doing.

You’ll be surprised at how much advice Republican representatives in the House are getting of how little they should do in public and how much should be done in private – away from their constituents and the general public’s eyes.

So let’s make this a new game for August. Instead of tracking the Press Sightings of the President and his family on vacation, let’s keep an eye on our own Congressional Representatives right here in Minnesota.

 Let’s start at the State Fair.  When you go, count how many times you hear “Every day I serve in Congress, I work to fight Washington.”    That is the suggested slogan for the month of August, by the way.  So, call them out.  Ask them if they can share something original that means something to them personally.  Ask them for specific examples of what they have done or accomplished; ask them to name the successes and the legislation passed to support it.   If you prefer not to challenge them in person, send a note to their local office.  Tell them they were “hired” by the people to represent them, not to represent the Republican publicists.  Share your actions on line and share any responses on line.

Every time you see the phrase “Every day I serve in Congress, I work to fight Washington” on Facebook, Twitter, or your own favorite social media tool; respond the same way. Challenge them!

Every time you see some footage on your favorite TV station and hear “Every day I serve in Congress, Iwork to fight Washington”- call them on it.  Ask them to site examples of how they are doing that; ask them for results they can share; leave the comment on the station’s online page or pages. 

Let’s not let them get away with this manipulation carefully engineered by the Republican Party publicists to cover up the DO NOTHIING Congress that trumps all DO NOTHINGS in US history! 

They’ve returned to their districts pretty cocky; assured by their party, they will recover by repeating the slogan often enough that the American people will buy into believing that “Washington” means Democrats and Obama not Congress and the Administration.  I am, and YOU ARE smarter than that;  and we have a right to expect more.  Call them on it.  Do not let them shift the blame…focus it right back where it belongs on the Republican-led House of Representatives.

A FINAL THOUGHT OF THE MORNING

This morning, an unruly thought jumped back into my brain…and try as I might, I have not been able to banish it to the “I forgot” bin that things I WANT to remember tend to get lost in.

Why was it ok in 2001 for a Republican president with that stunned look still on his face to start a 12 year+ war against Afghanistan because they granted  asylum to an enemy of the US; thereby multiplying the tragedy of 3000 persons who initially died to some gargantuan number -still not capped off -of additional Americans, friends of America,  Afghans and innocent bystanders …and yet it is not okay for a Democratic President to merely verbally challenge Russia and cancel his planned Summit meeting with Putin for providing a safe harbor for Snowden?

Those of you that cheered as we blundered into Afghanistan are the same ones muttering Obama has set back the progress made with Russia and he should have restrained himself.  Excuse me?

We should not forget, folks, that Afghanistan did not attack the World Trade Center – Osama bin Laden, whose family roots were Yemen with ties to the Saudis, was the culprit. He just went to Afghanistan to hide.

Snowden, on the other hand, whom our federal government has determined was a traitor – no matter what your personal beliefs are on whistleblower vs. traitor-has been granted asylum.  Despite the fact that I think that is pretty good punishment in itself-let’s not kid ourselves that he will stay there or not be heard from again.  

 I am all for a well-thought out careful approach to show our displeasure for the interference.  At least Obama did not send planes and ships of Americans off to die  in a no-win situation from which we still cannot extract ourselves.

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MSP and 21ST CENTURY URBANIZATION

August 9, 2013

INFRASTRUCTURE INVESTMENT  

Good discussion in STRIB this morning on urban density…

We need infrastructure investment in our core cities…sadly lacking through the last half of 20th century as the expansion to the ‘burbs became an excessive experience, and now is finally realized to be unsustainable by the desired limited population base and the great infrastructure demands they have in order to move people back and forth to benefit from the economic and cultural amenities of the core cities.

We spent money on highways and roads to accommodate that; and left the urban center in ill-repair.

That does not mean we are saying NO to  those who want blue sky, green grass , and no neighbors within talking distance….but that all comes with a price.  After 50 years of accommodating the outlanders, the realization has come that there is a price to pay in order to support that.

And yes, although I am absolutely a proponent of this move towards re-urbanization and away from the ‘burbs with big box retail as the “scenery” –all needing massive infrastructure investments in order to support our country’s mass consumption culture, I do hear the issues and agree with some of the complaints of early re-urbanization – which is often lacking in “great” design aesthetics.

But the question I pose is this:  Have any of you commuters looked around at the first and second ring ‘burbs you drive through?

Does anyone remember the song “Little Boxes”…the so “on target” lament of the ‘60s?  Richfield and Bloomington ain’t pretty and inspiring; but they started the movement away from the city.

I may not want to accept that this is inevitable, but I surely hold to the hope that “its people on the streets that set the stage for more demand in the future, and with more demand will come better design.”  

MORE REBUTTALS FOR KATHERINE KERSTEN

Good  for Reverend Paul Slack , a pastor in Minneapolis and president of Isaiah, a coalition of 100 congregations in the metro area, for his thoughtful  response to Katherine Kersten’s total off-kilter rage and rant against the Met Council.

He did a great job in outlining the need for a Met Council, the discussions and sharing of issues, ideas and potential solutions all the way to Governor’s office. 

Some excellent food for thought from that rebuttal follows:

“To create a future of prosperity, we must come together as a region…the Metropolitan Council has a crucial role to play in providing that leadership.”

“All of us, whether we live in core city neighborhoods or outer suburbs, desire to see a strong region with access to opportunity for all residents.  The Met Council should serve all people of the region, not just municipal agencies, developers or the privileged few.  The council can and should provide strong leadership, in coordination with state agencies, to create a more prosperous racially equitable future.”

AND SOME SHARED PERSONAL EXPERIENCE

Yesterday, coming home from Mill City Museum after a project meeting, I was passing the drycleaners adjacent to the Churchill as a young man was exiting.  He gave me a big smile – said “I know you – I am Luke, from Plan-It Hennepin.” WOW!  Not only was I envious of his memory and recall, I was just plain impressed.  Luke was one of the team that gave such insight and perspective from the “next generation”  perspective on a project you have heard me speak about often- a project that opened my eyes to better ways of doing things and accomplishing dreams in the world of revitalization.

As I headed home, I had a smile on my face because of Luke, his recognition of me, his enthusiasm, and what that group taught me. 

Just last week, I had a similar experience with U of MN students from an urban design class doing a visioning project at the Public Housing block on 4th and Hennepin.  I came home from that so energized and inspired-and envious of the things they are going to get accomplished in the upcoming years.

What a different perspective from another project I have found myself in the midst of – one that I almost passed on because I KNEW BETTER-all instincts told me not to go there, but my passion for revitalization clouded my good judgment.   And despite the presence of one recent U of MN grad student in the mix – far too many of the voices are a bit too invested in another time.  So, as usual, that over-responsible part of me is obsessing about it…what am I doing wrong; what can I do differently; how can we get this to work so the group can succeed and meet their goals in spite of themselves?  So instead of fun,  this has become a chore – one that I will do the best I can on; but one that little voice inside keeps whispering “I told you so-you are not going to win on this”. 

A couple days ago, another “next generation” person was my teller at the bank – he asked a question after the transaction was complete, that I think was an informal survey of some sort…he asked me what I would like to do if I had all the money in the world, and all the time and resources; I responded I would do exactly what I was doing now – helping people achieve their dreams through event design.  I absolutely surprised him, and a second teller joined the conversation as I explained that after a successful career in the business world, I exited it, started my own one-person business with no responsibility to any employees ever again and have spent the last 20 years doing something I love that helps others do what they love.

Walking home from the bank, it occurred to me that sometimes what I love and what the client loves do not mesh, and that may, indeed, be the scenario I am facing now.

That does not quiet the “Doubting Thomas” buried within, on this latest “another fine mess I have gotten myself into” but it does point out, if I am not perceived as a help, then there may be no “win” for me this time around because it is their vision and their responsibility whether the latest plan for revitalization is implemented or not.  Time will tell; this is a tough one.   I just have to remind myself- it is THEIR choice.  They will get a traditional 10% success rate without me; if they do not have the understanding , resources,  time or will to do more to improve that to 65-90%, it’s okay. 

Now to see what wins…my brain or  that always questioning voice within!  Either way, truth be told; I am fine with it – as I have once again, already given the total hours   upon which the fee was based to the effort; if I am saved 200-250 more hours of FREE time, that might be a good thing.

 

 

 

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WARS BETWEEN COUNTRIES vs GLOBAL DIGITAL WARS

August 4, 2013

WORLD TERRORISTS ALERTS

As Interpol joins the US in issuing terrorist alerts…and the rash of recent prison breaks freed almost 2000 Al-Qaida prisoners from Iraq to Pakistan to Libya, the world should definitely stand alert; I will be listening to Sunday morning news programs today to get more information, that’s for sure.

But already, I anticipate I will be irritated because I will hear again the references that infer Obama doesn’t know what he is doing because it has already started. 

I can’t help but ask -what about the release of 2000 Al Qaida from prisons including those long held and mistreated at Abu Ghraib do we not understand?!!??

No one said Al Qaida green sprouts weren’t dangerous and no one said there was no danger.  Obama only said the threat was generally diminished in countries where we had been addressing the problem with drones and boots on the ground and there, Al-Qaida had been eviscerated by US counter-terrorism… I admit, as that message is dug up 90 days after the conversation, it could be construed to show he does not know what he is talking about-particularly in view of the chatter being picked up that indicates something BIG is in the works.   And if there is a possibility, no doubt it will be seized upon.

But a couple questions before we pounce:

  1. 1.    What was the context in which that statement was issued?  I don’t remember, do you?  Something about the drone program and counterterrorism needs but other than that….?
  2. 2.    How do we as American citizens presume to know on a daily basis what message to the world was being conveyed at the same time, or why?

It’s the old caution:  Beware of thinking the “facts” one has are the only “facts” that exist.  You will usually be proven wrong.

It all is a complex and constantly changing situation and not well–suited to back seat driving and speculation, so I try to learn more before I pass judgment…even though my nagging instinct is to lash out to those who continue trying to refocus the argument to include as enemies:   Obama, women, gays, and all multi-cultural inhabitants of our country.

And here I am, a few hours later…about to say, I told you so, as I take in the coverage on Meet the Press.

After a brief discussion about chatter coming from Yemen, we had a quick segue into the G-20 meeting in Russia and the fact, that Obama will go; but will not be meeting individually with Putin because of the NSA/Snowden situation.  I knew it was going to happen, and here is the confirmation that scandal trumps security,  but was so disappointed it did. 

We heard a little bit about chatter similar to pre- 9-11 that was ignored first time around; we learned a bit about suicide vests or car bombs talk; we heard a bit about resubmitting budget requests to the tune of $48 million to increase security in vulnerable embassies and within just a few minutes…it was all about the NSA “scandal” and the FISA Court.

But then we quickly segued again into Obama being cautious after how wrong on Benghazi he was. No, I thought, Obama was NOT the guilty party that denied increased security- it was CONGRESS –although the muck-up over talking points explaining what happened seems definitely to rest within the White House.

My reaction?  The threat and chatter discussion should have been expanded to Great Britain and other NATO allies who are also picking up the chatter and taking precaution instead of viewing it as another opportunity (only by a big stretch of the imagination) to pin the “tale” of blame on the donkey.

Then we transitioned to the panel of public commentators starting with Rick Santorum who spewed out a 2016 campaign sound bite, and we were off on the patter….even going back to a news clip from 1975 of Frank Church warning we needed to be careful that the country did not turn their “watch” on the citizens.

I am sorry two ranking Congressional leaders Democrat and Republican were so quickly dismissed from the conversation, but apparently, there was a rush to get back to the Obama/NRA/FISA Court bashing.

 Even the repetition of the fact that there has been a 90 minute discussion with senior leaders in both parties at the White House and Obama had expressly communicated that he welcomed the discussion and together they agreed Congress would move forward on two significant steps to modify that which had become law in the Bush Administration got no reaction nor even a comment from the moderator or the panel.  No potential scandal there, I guess – just good governing….so why feature it in the news?    

Another opportunity wasted on Meet the Press to generate a thoughtful discussion…and just maybe one that would have included looking forward into the digital world that has emerged and how that should start changing our thinking.  Nope; back to the comfort of 1975…confirming that when the Press knows the outcome, they are better able to report on it I guess.

TARGET’S DIGITAL DRIVE

But I will admit, the Press is not the only one to miss a move to the digital world.  I have been among the many asking what was happening at Target…had they lost the golden touch of innovative retail marketing they once owned?  I’ve participated in several conversations recently about how they have changed since the “good old days”.

So I visited a little less; I bought a little less as my perception became cemented in the “same-old, same-old” reaction.  No, they would not lose me as a customer; a Wal-Mart switch would go against all I value; but they were no longer the recipient of the share of my dollars they once were.  Not to say they would notice – living downtown ensures they had not seen the last of me…there is not much retail left to choose from!  So me and my red card get at least a weekly workout!

But this morning’s feature on Target “Innovation from the Inside Out” gave me pause to RE-THINK.

While I have been busy reading and preaching all about the digital age of the 21st century, I forgot to look around me.  So I missed the emphasis change from the big box (and even the smaller, urban box) to the revolution happening to Target on line.  One more thing on my list now….off to the Target website to see how this is playing out. 

 

 

 

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WASHINGTON IN ALL ITS GLORY TAKES A BREAK

August 3, 2013

SEQUESTER

So sequester is wielding a huge impact on slowing an already slow economic recovery….as cuts in domestic and military spending taking place are starting to ripple out to public contractors as well as government employees.

One more time, economists are being heard from – criticizing Washington for putting a self-inflicted drag on the recovery.  Republicans would do well to listen to the business-supported Committee for Economic Delivery who this week declared   “never since the 1950s has fiscal policy been so at odds with economic growth.”

Personally, this drives me crazy!

First it was the Republicans love of war on a credit card and love of stockholders (NOT business in total) that allowed the fiscal problem to develop; NOW the same folks stand in the way of recovery AGAINST THE ADVICE OF ALL knowledgeable economists, and all textbook economic theories!

Now we read this morning, that the Governors, too, seem to have had enough as they convene their 3-day summer conference.  They point out that those very states struggling most through the recovery are being handicapped by the posturing.  They blame “Washington” and they are right-as long as we all understand what is meant by “Washington”.   We need to be clear this is NOT the Administration’s doing – it is inability for Congress to act because all action is trumped by those intent on making Washington a substitution for the name “Obama”.  Yes, they are willing to risk almost 250 years of government – driven by their hatred of one man.

The Republican Party apparently intent on their OWN destruction, cannot seem to get their young’uns under control.  So the uninformed, inexperienced, ideologues housed within the their party – often motivated by their own vision of “grandiose self” are left unfettered to bask in their own inflated sense of importance….at the risk – not only of the Republican Party, but the common citizen and possibly the country.

The NY Times this week called out three of them…and explained that their inflated sense of self was caused by Obama because he empowered freshman senators to believe they, too, were only one or two good speeches away from the presidency. 

If that were not so sad, it could be funny.

But make no mistake.  They are well on their way to destroying all around them.  I would wish them well that endeavor except the risk is too high…the country could be pulled into that swirling drain – right along with the Repos!

EIGHTEEN LAWS PASSED in EIGHT MONTHS

The Work of 5oo+ well paid Congressmen set a new record in the history of the United Sates as of yesterday.  Unfortunately, it was a new record for non-performance.

Could someone take the total 18 laws passed by Congress and compute how much this the COST American taxpayers in wages, benefits, healthcare and retirement benefits …add to that all related staff support and related operating expense and then report back to the Public just how much we paid to name a new bridge over the Mississippi “Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge” and to name a section of our tax code after Kay Bailey Hutchinson of Texas?!!!!

Yes indeed, over 10% of the work of 8 months performed by over 500 men and women is represented in those two bills which Congress voted into law.

They have a lot to accomplish when they return after 5 weeks of recess to spend a total of nine days working in September.

Want to bet if they will be able to accomplish anything?

They traveled home yesterday; and by Monday, should be checking into their local offices.  I have sent my admonition to the Minnesota Gang- what about you?