Does Your Tribe Cloud Your Judgement?

You can’t handle the truth


Have you heard this one before?

Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?

These words should be familiar to fans of criminal justice dramas everywhere. This is what you swear to do in any legal proceeding. You are “sworn in”, just before you “testify”, in a legal setting. It could be as a witness in court, in a deposition, or even in a questioning. Anytime it’s deemed necessary to compel you to speak the truth, completely, and with no lies or spin, you will be asked to swear this.LadyJustice

And, if your “testimony” is not as truthful, complete, and unvarnished as you swore it would be, there are consequences. You could be charged with perjury if your willfully false or misleading testimony impacts the outcome of a proceeding. You could be charged with making false statements, even if all you do is to deny your guilt when asked. You could be charged with obstruction of justice if you willfully cover or withhold the truth from investigators or prosecutors.

Read more ruminating

This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things

When did compromise become a dirty word?

Politics is the art of the possible, the attainable – the art of the next best.

Otto von Bismarck

Compromise. That’s what Bismarck refers to in his quote. Compromise makes life possible. Without compromise there is only intransigent, rancorous bickering. Kind of like the U.S. Congress these days.

For some, a compromise, in the sense of an agreement or a settlement reached through mutual concession, is tantamount to admitting defeat. If not all, then nothing for all. Better to blow the whole thing up than to give an inch.

But why? Why do some feel that any concession, no matter how insignificant, will compromise them, in the sense of  being weakened by accepting anything less than everything? That if they give up any at all, they have given it all up?

Perhaps some have conflated integrity and intransigence. That never compromising, never offering the slightest concession, will be viewed as integrity. One who never compromises is somehow more principled and honest.

But integrity and compromise are not antonyms. They are not mutually exclusive. Those who are principled and honest should, and often do, compromise. Life as a social being demands compromise.

I think those who view a compromise as compromising are themselves compromised.


No, not Vanilla!

Well, it happened. I knew it was just a matter of time. What with the renewed spike in the spittle-flying phobia in this country about those “others”, it was bound to happen. The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement hit squad finally picked off someone in my little world.

Friday, I’m talking to one of the nicest people in the company. Hell, one of the nicest people on the planet! Always cheerful, always helpful, there for everyone, volunteering to help others, highly competent, one of the best workers in the building. Actually, a far better human being than most of the natural-born citizens in the building.

Monday, I come in, go down to the mail room to say “Hi”, and she’s not at her desk. I track down her good friend and ask what’s up, and her friend confides in me that, even though she had been in the country for many years, she never had the proper immigration status, and that she was deported over the weekend. Boom! Just like that. She gets disappeared!

If you’re one of those “serves her right for breaking the law” types, or maybe you think “she’s just here to steal our jobs”, I’ve got something to ask you. If you were in her shoes, and not one of the big winners in the genetic lottery, and the conditions in your home country were so bad that breaking the law in the most powerful country on Earth seemed like the safer alternative, what would you do?

If you said “I’d stay in my home country”, you don’t know yourself very well. I’d suggest some real deep soul-searching. In fact, I think we all need some!

When You’re Treating the Symptom

Should you have to be wealthy to be healthy?

Here in the United States, we are once again conducting a life and death screaming match about a symptom of a “disease.” We have performed this opus periodically for the last 100 years. And we will likely perform it well into the next century.

BloodPressure2Each time, the underlying disease is the same. And each time, we scream about a different symptom of the disease. Because we are too timid, too courteous, too lazy, too selfish, or too invested in treating the symptom to even recognize the disease. The disease is health.

Sounds funny, doesn’t it. I’ll bet you thought health was the absence of disease. Well, you are correct. And for 100 years we have been treating symptoms without acknowledging the fundamental question about the disease. Read more ruminating

To All My Buddies

When are you no longer BFFs?

Just what constitutes being a buddy? A bud. A BFF. Can you be a buddy with someone you just met? Or is there some unwritten rule that says you can’t be best buds until some certain period of time has passed? Is it like a probationary period, are you like “buddies in waiting”, or maybe “provisional buddies?” And if you’re buddies, can you fall out of “buddy-ness”, like we humans fall in and then out of love?

I’ve had lots of buddies over the years. There was my buddy Peter, who lived across the alley when I was a kid. I look back on that time, and I think we were inseparable, but then, we weren’t, because I haven’t seen him for decades. Were we really buddies?

Read more ruminating

Post Post-a-Day

Or, After My Failed Attempt at 365 Posts in 2016

Hello again, dear reader(s). Or, rather, “Hi Mom.”

As you may (not) have noticed, I have been absent from these digs for well over a week. Quiet. Silent. Mute. Voiceless. And although I did not issue an Official Proclamation as to my intentions of trying to publish a post every day for a year, I did at least announce said intentions to the voices in my head.

“Hah! A post a day for a year! That’s rich.”

“Shut up!”

“No! You can’t make me!”

“Shut up, I’m trying to talk to my dear reader(s)!”

“You know, rudyblues, if you didn’t proofread this dreck you wouldn’t even have ‘reader’, much less readers! Loser.”

Sorry, I digress. As I was saying, I have failed in my attempt to publish at least once a day for a year. I fought the good fight. Well, I fought. All right, I gave it a shot, how’s that? Probably not my best shot, but a shot none the less. It was a good run. Yes, I suppose you’re right, it was more like a short, fast walk.

I find it amazing how badly the human psyche wants to be right and to what extremes it will go to rationalize a perceived failure. Back in the waning days of 2015 I optimistically said to myself, “Self, we’re gonna publish 365 blog posts next year.” And at that point most of the voices in my head gave a kind of muffled harrumph, with a few “attaboy’s” and “you go’s” from the back of the room. Fast forward to the present and it’s not quite as supportive in there. Rationalizations run rampant.

I’ve spent nearly every waking hour for the past week or more on keeping my day job. As some (one?) of you may have read in this previous post, the heartless, multinational mega-corporation I work for is going through a self-induced, self-inflicted restructuring to please the financier class. This restructuring, which at times seems more like throwing everything out and starting over, is being implemented with a spreadsheet and a battle axe, with the precision of a carpet bombing run.

And what self-respecting restructuring expert would keep someone 50+ years old, who knows how the business works and how the organization operates, when he could keep two 20-somethings and brag about the reduction in overhead (read payroll)? That’s Business School 101, dear reader(s). Elementary school math. If you subtract the biggest numbers first you don’t have to work as hard.

So the layoffs have been coming hard and fast in the first quarter, in order to meet the arbitrary deadline that was foolishly announced so that the stock price would rebound. And it has, and the munchkin twit with the Napoleon complex has had his contract renewed. Most of the layoffs have been from middle management, people nearing the end of their working careers, nearer the upper end of the pay scale. Just a smidge older than me. I’m losing my cover.

And although your humble author is neither middle management nor at the top of the pay scale, he is at that vulnerable age, 50+, that seems to be the target of most of the cuts. Ergo, the recent spate of late nights and long days workin’ for the man. Trying to make myself indispensable at a job that’s ill-defined and unnoticed by those in the seats of the corporate threshing machines. I’m sure my number will come up soon.

Oh, by the way, if you’re a Millennial or a Gen-Xer or even a younger Boomer, please don’t jack with Social Security in the U.S. It works, in spite of what you hear. I’m one of those that the Great Recession of 2007 wiped out. I’m working until I drop. Unless my number comes up. Then I’m taking Social Security and living under a bridge.

Though I’m not religious, what better day than today, the Christian holiday of Easter Sunday, with its promise of redemption, to ask you, my dear reader(s), to forgive my sins and continue reading. Maybe just not as often. I can’t afford to lose my day job.

Them’s Fightin’ Words!

Rantin’ about parentin’

Do you know someone who encourages their children to solve disputes with violence? You know the type. Their child tells them about a dispute with another child, perhaps with a schoolmate or a neighborhood kid, and their response is, “When that kid says that you just knock him right in the snot box!”

I’ve heard parents talk like this before. I imagine their parents said the same thing to them. Makes me want to knock them right in the snot box! But if you’re like me, you just bite your tongue, smile, and feel sorry for the kid. No sense provoking someone like that into punching you in the nose by insulting their parenting skills. Or lack thereof. I hope that doesn’t make me a bad person. Or an accomplice.

{/end rant}