3 Top Ways to Clean Up St. Louis County Government

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Meet Chip Tuesday, March 22 from 5:30 to 7:00. Details below.

L.K. Wood for County Assessor - Saint Louis CountyYou can help clean up St. Louis County government. And you can have a good time doing it.  Here’s how.

1.  Like L. K. “Chip” Wood’s Facebook page. It’ll take only a second, and you’ll feel more connected and productive just by doing it.

2.  Visit Chip Wood for Assessor and enter your email address in the email sign-up box on the right.  While you’re there, take a look around and get to know Chip Wood a little better.

3.  Attend a Meet and Greet with L. K. “Chip” Wood this Tuesday, March 22 from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m.  at the Log Cabin, 3751 S. Lindbergh Blvd.  It’s just $25 per couple.  Please call 314-909-0109 to make reservations. [click for map]

Tuesday’s event is sponsored by Bonhomme Republican Women. 

Libya: To What End?

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When the US invaded Iraq in 2003, it do so with the clear intent of bringing its enemy—Saddam’s regime—to an unconditional surrender. That was the objective.  Despite what happened after that objective was achieved, we went in with a clear and measurable purpose.

The motivating reason for our foray into Iraq was also clear.  We believed at the time that Saddam Hussein’s possession of — and desire for more — weapons of mass destruction posed an imminent threat to US interests and citizens. We also believed that attempts to reach a peaceful resolution were exhausted and that failure to act immediately would make future actions more lethal.

I have no qualms with any of those actions, although I did end up criticizing the Bush administration’s handling of the longer occupation.

With troops in harm’s way, I will go no further, now, than to say that I believe the action in Libya sets two bad precedents:

1.  The United Nations is operating inside a country, against a UN-recognized sovereign, to change a government’s domestic policy.

2.  The President took military action against another country without consulting Congress and with no pretense of justification under the War Powers Act.  Even Obama’s supporter Andrew Sullivan admits as much.

On St. Louis Tea Party Coalition, I posed five questions for the President regarding the Libyan offensive.  As the father of an F-18 fighter technician, I hope the President will answer those questions, not to me, but to the nation and to the world.

Crooked as a Dog’s Hind Leg

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That’s St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley.

It’s bad enough that corruption, nepotism, and Machiavellian favoritism runs rampant in St. Louis County.  What’s worse is that Dooley doesn’t seem to care what anyone thinks.

St. Louis County in the third year of a hiring and pay freeze, Mike Temporiti landed a $70,000 county job.

. . .

The job was never posted, and Temporiti did not have to interview for it.

He is a lawyer and the son of John Temporiti, who is County Executive Charlie A. Dooley’s longtime campaign treasurer and manager and former chief of staff.

Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Enough? There’s more. With Dooley, there’s always more.

John Temporiti’s daughter is also a County employee, and Temporiti has a history of confronting people who don’t do as he says. 

There’s probably not much we can do right now about Dooley’s corruption and the Temporiti’s rather unique employment agency at 41 South Central in Clayton. But we can slow down Dooley’s corruption machine on April 5.

That’s date Dooley hopes to coronate yet another political hack, Jake Zimmerman, as County Assessor. 

You have the chance to upend the Dooley Regime by electing L. K. “Chip” Wood  as County Assessor. 

Chip Wood is an outstanding candidate whose entire life has revolved around real estate and property.  While Zimmerman has promised to make you talk to a computer if you don’t like your assessment, Wood will let you deal with a human being who is personally responsible for your case.

In fact, everything about Dooley screams “machine.”  The alternative is human, and the very personable Chip Wood. 

You can trust Chip to keep assessments fair.

Why Does Leadership Response to Disaster Always Suck?

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I just heard on BBC that the Japanese government is only now dealing with the Fukushami nuclear problem appropriately. 

I’m a little surprised they responded this quickly.

  1. Obama golfing while Japan burns, Middle East rages, and Oil spikes
  2. The White House took weeks to treat the Gulf Oil Spill like a disaster
  3. The White House and FEMA treated Katrina like a local problem until long after disaster struck
  4. FEMA took weeks to bring relief to South Carolina following Hurricane Hugo (but did much better following Andrew)

Today—on the fifth day of crisis—Japanese utilities officials are still reluctant to ask for help, according to the AP:

Late Tuesday, officials at the plant said they were considering asking for help from the U.S. and Japanese militaries to spray water from helicopters into the pool.

It seems that foreign countries—away from the disaster scene—respond more appropriately to disasters than the affected countries do.  But this time, even the US president seems too aloof to bother with Japan.  In short, leaders just don’t seem to lead in disasters.

Why?

Is it because leaders are afraid to appear frightened?  Perhaps, but appearing indecisive seems even worse.

Is it because leaders overestimate their own country to deal with problems?  Perhaps, but many of the slow responders are leaders, like Obama, who believe no one can do anything without government supervision. 

Or is it because we have so many processes and procedures that we can’t respond? 

In The Fourth Turning, the authors describe Artist generations—particularly the Artists who comprise America’s Silent Generation—as process gurus who prefer following a defined process to producing good results. (Previous post.) The Carter administration was pack with Silent Generation.  So was George H. W. Bush’s.  Reagan preferred GI Generation, Clinton Silent and Boomer. 

If the authors are right, most of our institutions and agencies are saddled with 25 years of Silent Generation executive paperwork and process.  That would apply to every country involved in World War II, including, of course, Japan.

That’s a lot of process. That’s a lot of forms.  That’s a lot of red tape to cut through before grabbing the fire extinguisher and dowsing the flames.

Generation X is sometimes too quick to act. Fair point.  But when hell breaks loose it’s no time to fill out the right forms.  It’s time to by God act.

Don’t Look for Quick Fixes

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According to a book by historians Neil Howe and William Strauss, history follows a fairly predictable pattern, rotating in cycles equal to a long human life. The book, The Fourth Turning, was written in 1997.

Read it.

If Howe and Strauss are right—and so far, they’re dead on—then we recently entered a Fourth Turning in the current saeculum which they named “millennium.”

What is a Fourth Turning?

The Fourth Turning is a Crisis, a decisive era of secular upheaval, when the values regime propels the replacement of the old civic order with a new one.

We’re not talking about an election cycle; we’re talking about an entirely reformulated society.

So far, America has experienced three significant turnings.  (Four, really, but the first was long before the Revolution.)

The Revolution, when the colonies declared independence from Great Britain and formed a democratic republic under the Constitution.

The Civil War, when we established the impossibility of secession and ended slavery.

The Depression-WWII, when we effectively abolished Constitutional government and re-ordered the entire world for increased security.

With the exception of the Civil War, each of these saecula lasted the length of a long human life—80 to 100 years.  That’s also about four generations.

Fourth Turnings—Crisis turnings—begin not because of chronology, but because of generational attitudes.  Fourth Turnings begin when the Boom children from the last Crisis reach Elderhood.

Think Bill  Clinton as elder statesman.

Behind that Boom generation is a generation of Nomads—the Gen Xers in this saecula.  My generation.  Reality Bites people.  Wild risk-takers. Generals George Patton and George Washington were the Generation Xers of their days.  So was Francis Marion.

Next, ready to do battle, is a Hero generation. These were the foot soldiers and Marines and sailors of WWII.  They’re also the kids fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq today. They’re the Millennials whom we too easily dismiss. But they’ll receive our ticker-tape parades someday. They’ll be the next Greatest Generation, if Howe and Strauss are correct.

Those born after about 2002?  They’re the next generation of artists.  The last generation of Artists were the Silent Generation who came of age just after WWII. They were too young to fight, but too old for Vietnam.  This generation is great at following orders.  It is the only American generation never to produce a President.  (We skipped from the GI generation of George H.W. Bush to the Boomers with Bill Clinton, George W., and Obama.)

So the stars—and the players—seemed aligned for a Fourth Turning: 20 to 25 years of total upheaval and, possibly,  total war. Those who think the worst is over, as I’ve said repeatedly, have another thought coming.  The debt problem that caused the 2008 crisis was not solved; it was papered over and compounded. February’s deficit was 40 percent bigger than the entire deficit for 2007.  The March deficit will be larger still.

I know some people believe that we can end the crisis with a single election—2010.  That’s beyond wishful thinking.  It’s irresponsible thinking.  Our troubles go deeper than an election cycle.  Or even two.

That doesn’t mean we don’t start now, though.  In fact, the Tea Party movement was really a recognition of the Crisis, though I didn’t know it at the time.  (Maybe some of you did.)

With spiraling debt, rising international tensions, Japan melting down, and public sector unions demanding the power to take even more away from the producers, we’re just beginning a long generation of turmoil.

Read The Fourth Turning this week.  Learn your role and the risks we face.  Then, we might as well get started.

 

Why Empire?

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5026548507_c06c91b515 “Why would a nation become imperial?,” Steven asked me. “I mean, why would you want to take that on?”

The conversation had been on Japan leading up to World War II.  The question was important.  Why would a nation conquer dissimilar nations?  Why accept that burden and risk? 

My answer, which I’ve grown more fond of as time’s passed, was something like this:  Imperial people view everything as a fixed pie. 

More importantly, if you view the world as fixed, you’re right.

If an acre of land produces enough food for a family of four, what do Mom and Dad do when baby number three is on the way?

If they live in an imperial, fixed-pie world, they have to get more land—or get rid of one of the kids.  But if they believe in innovation, ingenuity, and initiation, a whole new world of opportunity arises.  They can find ways to produce more from their single acre.  They can sell products or services to farmers with a surplus of food. They can form an exchange with several farmers, merchants, and artisans. 

Whatever path they choose, the little farmers don’t have to take up arms and annex a quarter of their neighbor’s one acre.

What made America (even when it was still Terra Nova) unique was our diehard belief that we can grow the pie bigger. We realize that doing so means hard work, painful mental focus, trial and error, and risk.  That’s why we do it. The pilgrims set sail for the New World to seek something greater, not to avoid something.  They believed in growing the pie, and their behavior after arriving proves it.

When we see examples of fixed-pie thinking, such as the union vandals destroying Madison, Wisconsin, we see how dangerous and destructive that archaic thinking can be.  The fixed-pie mentality makes every moment of life a fight to the finish for survival.

But our view makes life an endless opportunity to grow, secure, bond, and create. 

I like the American view better, don’t you?