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Showing posts from March, 2018

Lead, Follow or Get Out Of The Way

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Once I worked with a career counselor, who remains a professional contact to this day. She gave me some great advice, considering that I am an academic at heart: “Try to think of work as an anthropology experiment,” she said to me. “Observe the people like you’ve embarked on a field trip, and write down what you see.” It was the best advice anybody ever gave me, not just about coping with an unpredictable and stressful work environment, but generally about coping with life. If you can observe yourself and write down what you are feeling, or capture it in some other way (for example, drawing or photography or music) then despite your actual lack of control over many things, you perceive yourself as empowered because at the very least your experiences matter, you’re telling your story, and it is your story to tell. There is a reason they call work “work,” and that is the fact that normally it is stressful. When I first started working in government, at a different agency than I work at …

The Alliance To End All Bulls — t

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So somebody posted this quote on Twitter about the false divisions we are currently experiencing in American culture. I don’t know who wrote it, but whoever took a picture of it had screen-shotted the words from Facebook.

In a world where people are now afraid to go on social media and share their views for fear of being blackballed by family and/or friends, blacklisted from work, and possibly even spied on by their television sets, I thought this wish for unity was very well-said. It reflected exactly my own sentiments.
“I’ll lose people by saying it but I believe we all want pretty much the same things. Liberals and conservatives all want a safe and prosperous America. We all want to restore our former greatness. We all want the homeless housed. We all want these nightmare (sic) called mass shootings to stop. We all want to remain free. We all want the world to be a better place. We all want a brighter future. We all want to love and be loved. We all want less hate and anger. ALL WE…

If We Really Cared About Women

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Just before I gave birth to my daughters, people would ask me the Big Question: "What do you plan to do when they are born?" 
The implicit meaning of this question was, if I didn't get it the first time, was: "Are you planning to go back to work?"
Sentence construction frames reality, and in the days of the nascent modern feminist movement, "work" was what we were supposed to want to do, as opposed to "standing around pushing a baby carriage." Of course, "go back to" signified that the the office is our natural place, it's where we came from and where we return to, and home is nothing "real" or valuable.
As a young mother I made the difficult decision to stay at home with the kids, a decision I was fortunate to be able to make. In the park, I was surrounded by nannies of color. It was a rich White neighborhood, and the other mothers were doctors and lawyers; they outsourced the mothering function and everybody told them …

Leadership Is Showing "I Am With You"

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Whether you are leading a tiny project team, a family, a hospital, a synagogue, a company or a country, you will fail, and fail big-time, if "the people" do not feel and sense and breathe that you are with them always.

On Sunday mornings at 7:30 a.m., on radio station 95.5 in the D.C. area, Pastor Keith Battle has a short radio program called "Weekly Wisdom." And it really is a fountain of wisdom about life, straight from the Bible, delivered by someone who clearly and unashamedly feels for the average human being just trying to struggle through life.

It is not very often that I find myself wanting to write down every single word a speaker says, but Pastor Battle's talk last Sunday was an exception. He spoke of Rahab, and how she was labeled forever for being a prostitute, and how God works through sinners. How we are all sinners, at one point or another. And how the people we callously label as "no good" are the very people He works through to save …

How Comedy Central portrays QAnon

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Originally posted on Twitter; lightly edited for typos and readability and to provide some additional commentary.
It should have been titled: "Deplorables: Aren't You Ashamed?"
And in the end, if "they" don't pull it off the air (because it didn't achieve the desired political intent but rather the opposite), this may very well be the moment that the mainstream begins to take seriously the "Drain the Swamp" theme that permeated President Trump's 2016 campaign. 
What follows is a transcription of a March 20, 2018 sketch on Comedy Central's"The Opposition w/ Jordan Klepper." It was called "Redpilled: The Storm." Below, the transcription, followed by my "translation," then by personal commentary. Narrator: "What if I told you the world is not as it seems, that what you think you know is wrong, that Matrix references are still cool?"Translation: Somebody (not "us") is either crazy, out-of-t…

How Dangerous Is A Snowflake?

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If repeating your mistakes is one form of insanity, so too is telling people what they want to hear. Because then the truth becomes a negotiated reality, dependent only on what both parties find safe and protective.

Negotiated reality happens to be the hallmark of marketing: I tell you what you want to hear, you buy my s**t. Branding, in contrast, depends on reality: I tell you the truth, regardless of whether you want to hear it. In return you give me real feedback. And that is how we build trust, and a long-term, “win-win” relationship.

Just a short time after the 2016 U.S. Presidential election had concluded, I went to a local artists’ fair. Everybody had at least one item in their booth designed to hate on President Trump.

Me being me, I went up to a booth populated by three artists: They were transvestites, men dressed as women. (Please note that I don’t particularly care one way or the other how anybody chooses to dress.) I got the attention of one of them and asked, genuinely cur…

Staged Narratives, Fake News, and the Coming Angry Mob

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"Liberal psy-op agents."


You said it, Slate, not me.

Have you noticed a pattern of late?

A person, or a group, commits a crime that is just in line with what the media's been telling us to think. And the movement that is supposed to "naturally" organize around it...somehow always falls flat. 
Mmmm...doesn't that look good?

Charlottesville was, supposedly, an organic hatefest by neo-Nazis against Jews. But I (a traumatized grandchild of Holocaust survivors) found the scene unconvincing. 
Google "neo-Nazis in America."

Actual Nazis, as opposed to the assembled throng of probably-paid actors in Charlottesville, are diverse in their appearance (whoever staged this event was aping Richard Spencer, who sort of apes Hitler.) Female, not just male. Animated, not drones. 
And, another thing. If you spend any time actually listening to what White nationalists are saying (I'm not confident that Nazis is the right term), their concern is not at all what …

The Crisis Doesn't Have To Happen

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Yesterday I was at D.C.'s Union Station to take the MARC train up to Odenton. It was about 9:30 a.m. -- a major commuting hub, major commuting hours. Should have been calm-yet-busy.

Yet the scene was alarming. Police officers patrolled briskly, all over the place. Police dogs were sniffing at the shoeshine stand by the Amtrak area, along the wall, and through where the passengers were sitting. A small group of people was huddled around the outlets in the corner; the police spoke to them briefly, and then the group broke up. A beautiful young woman in her twenties, a blanket wrapped around her shoulders, walked around blankly. Others ambled about; a pigeon had made its way into the Au Bon Pain and couldn't seem to get out.

I sat down, a little unnerved, and waited for the train to come. I looked up at the TV monitor, expecting to see the news or the weather. Instead, there was a loop of announcements about what to do in case a train or the station was evacuated. There were scene…

Making the World Safe for Judith

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This morning I woke up with a panic attack.

Because I realized that The Walking Dead presents us with an impossible choice.

Carl represents goodness. He doesn't stand a chance. 
Negan represents evil. Evil will do whatever it takes. In this world, evil often wins.

Negan put my grandmother in Auschwitz.
It is clear that I have intergenerational trauma. 


If I am traumatized, it's because I will never know for sure what happened there.


We weren't allowed to discuss it back then. Her face shook, teeth clacked, hands shook. She testified for Yad Vashem. There is a lot of shame and shrouding around this topic. But then my dad told me what Mengele said to my grandmother.
"You stinkin' Jew, you'll never have kids," he said as she walked out of Auschwitz. There are family stories about how she escaped Nazi assault. In an instant I knew they probably weren't true, no matter what anyone said, even her.

Here's the central question: "How far would you go …