Is It True?

Posted: April 8, 2014 in Contemporary

As we creep up on the 2014 mid-term elections, there are a lot of lies floating around and, in this cowboy’s view, folks should be held accountable for what they say. Seems to me that truth is nonpartisan and should be close to the heart of everyone, whether republican, democrat, or independent.

As Americans, we advocate and support freedom of speech but when the exercise of that right intentionally misleads people or disrupts the electorial and legislative processes, there should be some legal penalty such as exists to penalize those who yell “fire” in a crowded theater.

Now a great many folks believe things that just aren’t true and they’re entitled their own opinion but, as Daniel Patrick Moynihan said, “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.” Although, someone might believe that two plus two is five and a quarter that doesn’t make it true!

In the absence of legal remedies, I reckon we might not be able to stop the poisonous ranting of kooks but there is one way to help stop the spread of lies around the internet. When you get an email, please don’t rely on your own beliefs and opinions, fact check before you click the forward button. There are scores of websites which offer up lies to the public but there are at least four reputable “fact checking” sites on the internet: Politifact, TruthorFiction, Snopes, and FactCheck. Those sites will, each in its own way, indicate whether the reported information is factual and truthful.

Then, if the message is untrue, and you really want to reinforce truth rather than forwarding an irresponsible message, return it to the sender by clicking “reply to all” in your email program and then type in a polite link to the truth. By doing this, all of those who received the faulty information will have the truth! Seems to me that’s the American Way.

Do beware!. You should know that there are some who don’t want to know or to believe the truth and you may lose a friend or two by pointing it out! But, I reckon standing up for what you know is right and true might be worth that loss.

Here are ten ways cowboy poetry differs from other forms:

A Terrorist Conspiracy?

Posted: October 16, 2013 in Uncategorized

Know It All Society

Posted: August 13, 2013 in Uncategorized

Hiding Their Identity

Posted: August 12, 2013 in Contemporary

Internet news sites all too often allow the use of screen names for public comments rather than requiring everyone to use real names. As a result, some sites have become real cesspools of extraneous crap.

Public comments would be more truthful and less vitriolic if writers stood up for what they profess to believe by using their real names instead of inane screen names. Anonymity, a shield for those who are afraid to show their real identity, too often invites quotations out of context, flat out lies, and nastiness.

Public figures, regardless of party or position, have to openly voice their views. There is no reason for us to be any less forthright and stand up for openness, honesty, and truth by using our real names!

And, a related footnote: Some sites actually post a count of how many times a commenter has made comments…one anonymous writer generated over 15,000 in 3 years (that is 5,000 a year or an average of nearly 14 a day). And just today (August 12) at 2:00pm on one current MSNBC article, 88 comments had been made by 33 persons, most hiding their identity. Such “contests” breed quantity, not quality, but perhaps do help us weed out those who know nothing about everything from those who are actually qualified to speak with some authority on a topic or two.

Public Service Recognition

Posted: April 27, 2013 in Contemporary

Public Service Recognition Week, May 5-11

Lots of folks, even some cowboys, complain about taxes. Well, maybe there are too many taxes and maybe some are too high but what would we do without the many benefits we receive in return? There are a great many dedicated public employees who serve quietly and efficiently to bring us essential services.

Recognizing this, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed a resolution on April 16, 2013 honoring federal, state and local government employees, both civilian and military, for their dedication and continued service to the United States.

Consider the impact on our lives if deserving and needy citizens were deprived of such tax-supported services as national defense, state national guard, fire and police protection, courts of law, public defenders, public transit, public schools, public broadcasting, mail delivery, Social Security, para medics, Medicare and Medicaid, professional licensing, public libraries, state and municipal block grants, child and elder care, housing assistance, business assistance, food stamps, air traffic control, head start, infrastructure, weather reports, food inspection, literary and artistic copyright, title registration, public parks, public health, student loans, et al.

The list goes on and on and those services are provided, directly or indirectly, by industrious but often unseen and unappreciated public employees. I don’t know about you, but I tip my Stetson to those many public employees who quietly and efficiently provide essential services. And I do so, not just during Public Service Recognition Week, but every single day!

Thanks guys and gals, you’re appreciated!

Restoring the Real Filibuster

Posted: November 29, 2012 in Contemporary, Historic

There is a moment in time when a simple majority vote of a quorum (51% of the Senate) during the first session of a new Congress may change the rules to reduce the severe partisanship which blocks the productive consideration of legislation by way of a sadly misused filibuster process.

The current filibuster rules of the Senate, and the provision that only one senator may, even anonymously, block the other 99 from considering or voting on an issue, are clearly unconstitutional.

While the Constitution says that the Senate may establish its own rules, it also states in Article I, Section 5 that a majority of that body constitutes a quorum to conduct business. In parliamentary terms, this means that, even if only 51 Senators are in attendance, they have a quorum and may approve an action by a simple majority vote of those actually present at that time.

In addition the Constitution enumerates only seven circumstances which require more than a majority of the quorum. Beyond that, there is a principle in the law which indicates that if there is enumeration, then all else is excluded. In parliamentary terms, this rules out any super majority requirement except on those seven constitutional matters.

The minority party at any given time might suffer by returning to the Constitutional principles established by our Founding Fathers; however, the interests of our nation will be better served by the will of a majority of the Congress, duly elected by the people, and not derailed by a those who who wish only to block the majority from addressing its constitutionally mandated tasks.

It is high time to get back to the concept of majority rule as laid out so clearly in the Constitution and get rid of unconstitutional parliamentary maneuvers which inhibit the legislative process! The old filibuster process wherein a Senator had to take the floor and hold it (as in the 1939 movie, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, starring Jimmy Stewart) is certainly constitutional and should be re-established.

The author, a retired management consultant and a past director of Toastmasters International, has served in positions of leadership and parliamentary roles for a variety of local, state, regional, and national organizations and has been a long time student of governmental and constitutional issues.

Cowboy Management Styles

Posted: September 11, 2012 in Historic, Uncategorized

Once upon a time I was a management consultant specializing in strategic planning and I helped a lot of people. But then I became a cowboy poet, vicariously reliving my youthful experience as a cowboy. It was then I realized that cowboys are right good managers; hence, this little essay.

I was ridin’ along the other day lis’nin’ to my pocket radio. The fellers was talkin’ about management and it seemed to me that they was gettin’ it all wrong somehow. They was using hard-to-understand high falutin’ words to explain some pretty simple things about the work of managers.

What they was sayin’ boiled down to five real little things that any cowboy fresh off the range could tell you. First a feller has got to know where he’s goin’, he’s got to round up the stuff he needs to get there, he’s got to get his crew lined up and teach them how to use all that stuff, he’s got to nudge folks along, and he’s got to keep up on what’s goin’ on.

Now, that’s a real cowboy’s view of management! And it’s a heck of a lot easier to understand and use than them high falutin’ words: plannin’, organizin’, staffin’, leadin’, and controllin’.

So, here’s the poop on bein’ a manager…

Where are you goin’? Them consultants really get you goin’ on this one. Their first words ain’t too bad…strategic plannin’…but then they start hangin’ other words on to those: vision, mission, values, goals, objectives, strategies, competition, and some other words they make up as they go along. A’course the reason for all a’that is to keep you plumb mixed up to the point that you gotta hire them to help you do all that plannin’ and hire ‘em again if you want to understand what they did for you in the first place!

All them words mean is that you gotta know what you’re aimin’ for, you gotta know why you’re aimin for that, you gotta treat folks right, you gotta take little bittsie steps while watchin’ that you don’t step in a pile of somethin’. Then you gotta consider:

  • Objectives – the total of lotsa bittsie steps
  • Strategies – how all these things fit together
  • Competiton – who’s steppin’ on your toes

Some folks say you can be a one minute manager but I reckon that ain’t right. You gotta be a 24 hour manager else the herd’s gonna get away from you. You got fences to build and fences to fix. You got hay to cut and hay to pitch. You got brandin’ to do and mountain oysters to harvest. You just gotta whole saddle bag full of chores if you’re gonna be a manager. All that takes a bit more than a minute!

What tools do managers use? Again, them consultants really confuse the issue when they talk about resources. Why don’t they just say here’s the tools you’ve got to do your job instead of sayin’ your resources are people, property, time, money, and technology?

It sorta stands to reason that you gotta have folks to do the work, give ‘em the tools and supplies they need, decide when the work needs to be done, get your money outa the bank so as you can pay for all that, and be sure you’re doin’ somethin’ that’ll last for a while.

Hire them consultants if you want to but, fer me, I reckon I’ll stick to Cowboy Management Skills…sort of a do-it-yourself kinda managin’.

Cookie’s Diary

Posted: June 19, 2012 in Contemporary, Historic

We found Cookie’s virtual diary. He’s a person who claims to know just about everything about everything. He’s also a cowboy philosopher and a real fan of cowboy poetry. In fact, if he could spell it, he’d say he was an affectionado and would admit his biases. In any case, with the correction of some grammar and spelling, we’ll be posting occasional excerpts from from the diary.

Super Majority is Illegal

Posted: March 8, 2012 in Contemporary, Historic

With reference to my last article, “A Question for Congress,” legal evidence supports the view that the super majority used (i.e., requiring 60 votes to proceed vs the traditional majority vote) in the U.S. Senate is illegal.

An excellent article contained in the Marquette Law Review (Volume XV June, 1931 No. 4, “Expressio Unius Est Exclusio Alterius,” by Clifton Williams, the dean of the Marquette Law School) makes that point with great clarity. In essence, the element of law involved says in that Latin phrase that when there is enumeration in the law, all else is excluded.

Our Constitution enumerates only seven instances where a super majority is required and for the Senate to impose any super majority requirement beyond those is illegal. If the Senate won’t clean up it’s own house, some ambitious young attorney should recruit a client who has a legal interest in the issue and take it to the courts!