Expecations and Barack Obama

Tomorrow is the day when the 8 years of the second Bush administration finally comes to an end. The torture, elimination of civil rights and privacy, unfocused war on 2 fronts, banking and economic meltdown, increasing global climatic change, systematic elimination of ecological habitats, lack of international respect and pride, increase in reliance on imported oil and countless other products, increase in unemployment, explosion in debt, larger government than we have had in generations, and more disatrous social policies to name, will not be a quick or easy fix for the next administration.

Nevertheless, Barack Obama is more popular than any incoming president in years.

Moreover, there are almost impossibly high hopes for him to affect the very change he has promised.

Will Obama’s “Hope We Can Believe In” live up to expectations? Perhaps the question should instead be reveresed–how horrible if it cannot.

I wonder if the consensus is so dire that any improvement will be welcome, even if only a few minor steps? I wonder if things have gotten so bad that the American people will forgive Obama for taking longer on fixing the nation than we would with others, partly because he seems to be such a good person, partly because we have so far to climb, and partly because everything seems so broken that where else can we go but up?

This may be a singulalry unique political opportunity, one that we may not see again for some time. Whatever the case, my experience shows it is easier to get into debt than out of it, easier to put on weight than take it off, easier to become self-righteous and intollerant than to collaborate and focus on inclusion. I wonder if the same may be true for this large and complex country?

Barack, we do put our hope and trust in you. At this point, we are nearly out of any other options, and only hope it is not to late.

Then again, by the fact that I am freely writing and publishing this blog post, it seems hope may still be alive.

Director of Strategic Reflection

I attended an online book discussion within my organization recently, and there was a very interesting question the class facilitator ended the session with. He asked:

If we were to write our own ideal job title, what would it be? 

I thought that was the grandest thought-provoking question I have encountered in some time, and came up with “Director of Strategic Reflection.”

As a proponent of reflective practice within an ongoing learning organization, I think those of us within human resource development, adult education, communication, and organizational development would greatly benefit from more active (both structured and unstructured) reflection. How else can we identify the assumptions and patterns of behavior that stifle us from moving forward to create a more just and aware organizational structure and society itself? We who engage in organizational, management, and leadership studies know that when people within an organization are more aligned within one another and with the mission and vision, then the organization itself is stronger and healthier.

What would your ideal job title be, and what impact would it have? 

Wildcat 2008 Awards Reception

wildcat.gifI attended the 2008 Awards Reception for Wildcat Service Corporation at the Time Warner Center last night. Wildcat is a wonderful workforce development organization that has trained and prepared over 350,000 people in New York, over its 36 year history, to enter the labor force. Its Missions is “to provide comprehensive creative workforce development services to undereducated, unemployed, underemployed, low income residents of New York City to assure their self-sufficiency.”

It serves a population that is often overlooked and neglected in the economic and social strata in the city, especially through serving unemployed people with prior convictions who need basic skills to rebuild their lives.

I was inspired by one of the speakers who introduced herself as a former client and is now a vice-president at Citibank. It is nice to know that the US is still the Land of Opportunity, even for those who need the most help getting started.

That I was standing behind Richard Parsons, who donated the space for the event, was further testament to the good work Wildcat does.

Beth Kantor Wins America’s Giving Challenge

Beth Kantor, who blogged and Tweeted incessantly to raise awareness and donations for the America’s Giving Challenge on behalf of poverty among Cambodian children, helped to bring a win for the Global Cause Champion.

I think Beth has taught a lesson here. She worked tirelessly for this cause, and in the process raised many small donations that in turn made a larger financial impact. She did this electronically, using the power of social media and new technology to help fight a very physical problem in a land so distant that many could easily overlook it as “out of sight, out of mind.”

Technology can certainly be used to help those who do not have access to it, and I think global giving and social awareness will only increase as successes like this provide evidence. Who would have thought, in the early days of the Internet, that social responsibility itself could be furthered through such electronic means?

Blogging from the Airport

I wonder why airports, which are generally public institutions, still charge for wireless Internet access? I suppose it is still not seen as part of the public good to have such access.

It is nice that British Airways at terminal 7 allows for broadband, but not a person in the terminal was using this “complementary” access. After all, who carries around the wires to plug-in anymore?

Terminal 7 Internet Access, JFK

Given that I am typing this and will publish it to the Web once I DO have wireless access again (without paying a full day for it though I am only here for less than an hour), I will maintain the original date and time of this post.

Renaming Global Warming

Do you think the terminology of “global warming” is not strong enough of a term to demonstrate how serious the changes in the climate? I have referred to this as global climactic change, and the NY Times is now discussing this term and whether (no pun intended) something else is more fitting a term.

Take a look at their article and add you voice:

Scientists and pitchmen press for a more effective name for “global warming.” Renaming Global Warming, by ANDREW C. REVKIN
Mon, 18 Feb 2008 15:03:09 GMT

Elephant Nature Foundation Has RSS Feeds

Elephant Nature Foundation, the organization in Thailand that I am very fond of (and where I have fostered 2 elephants – Max and Tong Jan) has just started using RSS feeds on their News page. I am very happy that I can now keep more on top of their news stories by having my newsreader check their website every day for updates.

What a simple and free way to get their message out even faster; I think all non-profits and charitable instututions online should use RSS feeds. I hope they begin to advertise this, since there is no indication on their site this now works. I only found it since I was browsing their site with my newsreader, FeedDemon.

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