Friday Friday

Slow Day

I hate blogging at work. It’s hard to keep my thoughts in order when I keep getting interrupted by pesky bosses and customers and such… But there’s nothing much going on today at the print shop, so I keep playing around on the Web, one eye looking over my shoulder to make sure the bosses aren’t watching…

It’s 10:30 in the morning. Still an hour before I can reasonably go to lunch. Then a whole afternoon to kill before I can go home and get ready for the half-gig we have at the Chesterfield tonight.


I’ve been thinking about welfare lately, for no apparent reason. I left a comment on another blog a few days ago on the subject – that’s probably why it’s on my mind. My thoughts run thusly:

I have no problem with welfare, in theory. Everyone needs help once in a while, and I’m happy to lend a hand. No problem. But I think that if a person gets welfare (or food stamps, or any kind of government assistance) they should be required to do some service for the government in return. You get welfare? Great, it’s your turn to go pick up trash in the ditches for a few hours.

I know, I know… “You can’t expect me to work, I don’t have any education, and I have kids.” Simple. If everyone who’s on welfare (or whatever) is required to work, say, fifteen hours a week, then some of those people could put in their fifteen hours by watching other people’s children. The disabled could do whatever they’re capable of doing. I can think of lots of things that need to be done, too. Shovel sidewalks for the elderly. Pick up garbage in the parks. Paint over graffiti. Help with Katrina restoration. Teach someone to read. Help at the soup kitchen. Mow vacant lots. Can you imagine how much better life would be if all these things (and more) got done? And it wouldn’t cost us a penny – we’re already giving the money away, we might as well get something in return.

I’m not talking about humiliating people by making them do work no one else wants to do – I’m simply saying that if you get money from the state, you should earn it somehow. A side benefit would be to give people in the program a sense of purpose and some pride.

Take responsibility for once…

The Bush administration has set new records on ducking responsibility. The latest is former FEMA director Michael Brown, the one who was in charge of emergency management when hurricane Katrina blew half of Louisiana off the map. He’s already testified before Congress once, and said that he thought he did a bang-up fantastic job. If I remember right, his exact words were something like, “I get it. I get emergency management and I’m good at it.” Now he’s been called again to testify in front of Congress. This time it seems he’s wildly pointing fingers at everyone else, claiming that this person lied and that person didn’t do their job.

Well, the point is, Mr. Brown, that you may indeed have done a wonderful job yourself, but the administration you were managing fell flat and was caught looking like the Keystone Cops. Being the head of that administration means more than a nifty title and a HUMONGUS paycheck – it means that you take responsibility for that administration’s success or failure. In this case, it failed, and you were in the driver’s seat. Quit making excuses. If FEMA needed more money or manpower, tell Congress. But don’t point fingers.

If I were in a position to hire Mr. Brown for his next job I wouldn’t. Not because of the FEMA failure, but because of his personal failure to take responsibility. ‘Nuff said.

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One thought on “Friday Friday

  1. Intellectual Insurgent

    One thing I learned when practicing law in a big law firm was that no one wants to hear your excuses. Even if your secretary dropped your brief in the toilet and that’s why you missed the deadline, it’s your fault for not looking after your secretary. You lose credibility no matter how valid the justifications may be.

    Once I learned to just accept responsibility, take the blame for subordinates and promise the mistake would not be repeated, I got a LOT more respect.


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