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Friday, February 27, 2009

Government Increases Stake In Citigroup to 36%. Share Price Tanks

CitigroupImage by LoopZilla via Flickr

Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Citigroup shares tanked today. Closed at $1.50. Fell 39.02% today. Still falling in after hours trading.

I wish I could be shocked!

What was the Government really expecting?

Of course, Citi shareholders were not going to like this. And of course, because the banking system is so interconnected, other shareholders in other banks wonder if they are next. This is not like the US Government to be a shareholder in banks; other countries yes, but not the US. The market is not used to it, doesn't understand it and doesn't like it.

Saw this?: "But analysts said the loss to regular shareholders from the government's move touched off worries that other banks could see their shares hit as well."

And saw this?:

"Citi has been a leading indicator the whole way down and the dilution that shareholders took today is sort of a leading indicator of what could happen to other banks, particularly the weak ones," said Kevin Shacknofsky, co-portfolio manager of the Alpine Dynamic Dividend Fund in Purchase, N.Y.

When will this agony be over? The Government needs to just get in and get out. Half way is making it worse.

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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Secretary Geither Needs A Dictionary

A copy of the 2001 edition of NODEImage via Wikipedia

I love the English Language. And moreover, I love the English Dictionary. How dictionaries work is that if you are unsure of the meaning of a word, then you look it up. Now with the internet, you can do it easily online. With the greatest of respect, Secretary Geithner needs a dictionary because I am not convinced he fully comprehends the meanings of the words "nationalize" or "nationailzation".

Here's one meaning of Nationalize: "To convert from private to governmental ownership and control" . That's from dictionary.com.

Or if you are a purist like me, you prefer the Oxford Dictionary. So according to AskOxford.com: Nationalize - transfer (an industry or business) from private to state ownership or control

Have a look at this article from the Huffington Post. Geithner: Nationalization is the "Wrong Strategy", "Deeply Offended" By Banks. I beg you, watch the interview as well with PBS' Jim Lehrer

Let's recap, shall we:

Secretary Geithner was part of the team that agreed - rightly - to intervene in the private banking system back in September. That was to prevent complete collapse. I'm not rehashing what the Government did to cause this problem in the first place because we would be here all night. At that time, he was in charge of the New York Fed. You know New York right, where Wall Street is......moving on....

When he and the Administration - rightly - tell CEOs who have taxpayers funds propping up their companies that no, they cannot buy corporate jets and no, they cannot have lavish retreats, what do you call that? Is banking private then? Because when the Government is telling anybody how to run a company - beyond exercising legislated regulatory authority - then that is some form of nationalization.

Again, see the definitions above. Telling companies what to do - beyond normal regulatory supervision - and own shares, and providing funds IS exercising "control". Or am I missing something?

Now, did I read this right? From the article above stated:

"As for the banks and their behavior during this crisis, Geithner said he was "deeply offended by the quality of judgments we've seen in the leadership of our nation's financial institutions. They've created a deep hole of public distrust and anger..."

So he would prefer to keep these people who have "deeply offended"? And this is because he trusts these people who have created a "deep hole of public distrust and anger"? This makes NO sense. Could the Secretary please clarify?

Moving on, which private person will put money into this halfway arrangement - private parties who the Secretary says exercise bad judgment and the Government who has no place in banking other than supervision.

The Government needs to get in and get out.

This half way is making matters worse.

Respectfully, I have to completely disagree with the Secretary. The Government does not have to be tentative. The Government has every incentive to get out as soon as possible.

Propping up banks and pretending to be a "silent investor" is really just a charade that is not fooling anyone, not making the banks and the banking system work as it should, and not instilling confidence in the sector, or frankly, confidence in the Government to take the hard decisions to handle this problem.

We are waiting.
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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Wonder What China Is Thinking

Cnn.Image via Wikipedia

As you've heard me say many times, China is the country to watch as this recovery unfolds.

Wonder what China thinks of the new Commerce Secretary nominee - Chinese-American former Governor of Washington Gary Locke?

Wonder what China thought of yesterday's speech from President Obama? Well, no official word, but here is some reporting from CNN. Worth the time to watch it.

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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

President Obama Is Large And In-Charge!

USPresidentialSealImage via Wikipedia

Tonight, President Obama made his first address to a joint session of Congress outlining the budget and economic goals.

In light of what has been happening in the US, and what I consider the ongoing "strangulation" of the US by ideology, I really wasn't expecting much. Well, I'm pleasantly surprised. None of this dilly dallying, or waffling (although we still need a definitive bank plan). There was Candidate Obama, but with authority - and boy, did he let us know it. Strong clear leadership in plain English. Finally!

I've read a lot of biographies and autobiographies of world leaders, and I've met quite a few and even served as a Senator and Deputy Finance Minister. I've followed politics all of my short life, and have been mostly intrigued with the most difficulty times in history, and the most challenging political problems. But frankly, if I tried to summarize this performance, I could not do it justice.

This is the kind of speech, the kind of tone, the kind of delivery, the kind of language and the kind of leader that the moment calls for.

Well done, President Obama!

Take the time to watch the speech here courtesy of MSNBC:

If you prefer to read, here is the transcript: Remarks of President Obama - Address to Joint Session of Congress
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Monday, February 23, 2009

C'mon Already!

world globe in handImage by jeco via Flickr

Ok, I'm confused. Frankly, I need to exercise one of my favorite provisions of the Constitution tonight: the right to free speech. So here goes:

Today, it's reported that the President says that the banks should be in "private hands". The implication of this is that he is anti-nationalization. Is he?

Well, let's examine this. What does one consider the current Government shareholdings of banks? That is "partial nationalization". I hate to be the one to have to break it to everyone.

Can somebody explain to me the merit of increasing the stakes in the banks but not fully nationalizing? Let's look at this.

  • Banking is a private sector activity. Government's regulate. And Government's must not regulate themselves in banking.
  • There is plenty of merit for the Government to hold shares permanently in certain companies in certain industries, under certain conditions. Banking is NOT one of those industries
  • There is plenty of merit for the Government to nationalize certain industries. Banking is NOT one of them - UNLESS it is temporary and ONLY to prevent the complete collapse of the banking system , clean up the entities and put the entities back into private hands. Temporary nationalization is not the same as permanent nationalization.
  • Governments must intervene when depositors are at risk and the whole banking system is on the verge of collapse. Paulson did that. President Obama has continued it. It was the right move. It is ONLY a holding pattern. It is NOT the end all.
  • Now, what is the point of increasing ownership in banks but leaving them in "private hands". This only adds to the uncertainty. Markets HATE uncertainty. Here are the logical questions: So after 40%, is the Government going for 45%? What will make the Government go for 51% or more? What does 40% mean anyway? Who is in charge? Will the government be a shareholder forever? Why on earth would the US government be a shareholder in a bank forever? If the US Government is planning to be a shareholder forever, then let's all know so the markets can just deal with the pain of that adjustment and let's move on. This "in between" but "nowhere" is just ridiculous.
Weak banks need to be fixed. This is non-negotiable. Sell them, whatever but protect the depositors. The world needs a banking system and it doesn't much matter which particular banks are in it.

This situation is dragging down the entire domestic and global financial system. And because the domestic and global economy depends on the banking system, this situation is dragging down the entire global economy. And because domestic and global social stability depends on the local and global economy, this situation is threatening the entire global social stability. Is anybody getting this picture?

Ideology is strangling the US. Don't believe me? Well, check this out: Now some Republican Governors are not taking the money for the people because they did not get what they want. Of course they want different things in the stimulus, but they didn't win the election. No one gets everything they want. This is a democracy, or did they all forget? Thanks to the Republicans, I am really wondering what is the point of democracy. No seriously, if you don't have something constructive to say, then what is the point? Let's get over it and get the country back into gear.

In my lifetime, I thought I had seen the last of the major global turning points. I remember the end of apartheid and when the Berlin Wall fell, for example. I am now convinced that I am going to see an entirely new world order because American leadership just cannot seem to see past ideology.

Long ago, when the collapse started, I said that I was making plans to learn Mandarin. Thank you China, for taking the time to visit us here in Jamaica last week. Thank you for all of your assistance. And as one of the newly announced cooperation initiatives, thank you for making it very easy for me to learn Mandarin right here if I wish to.
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Sunday, February 22, 2009

Bye Bye To The Way Things Were And Are?

Our DirectionImage by B Tal

Anti-regulation, free marketers, this post is for you. If you are in favor of ratings agencies and hedge funds carrying on as is, this post is for you. If you are a banker or a trader happy with the previous incentive reward system, this post is for you. Bye, bye to the way things were and are now.

After a rocky and delayed started, the G7, then the G8 and the G20, and then multilaterals etc. all started to sing the same tune: there must be a new global financial architecture. Of course, there are divergent views on what that should be. And yes, it is true that the EU itself cannot find one voice on this matter.

But one thing is for sure - everyone agrees that what "was" will not "be"; what "was" does not work.

Somewhere not "here" and not "back there" but "elsewhere" will be found.

What that new "elsewhere" and "what will be" depends on
  • What happens between now and the next meeting. Does the global economy deteriorate more. Does the global banking system fall further into decline? Are more financial scandals and Ponzi schemes exposed? etc.
  • The willingness of the private parties to cooperate with the Governments and regulators to find a middle ground. It is wise for us to all remember that whether or not we like it, governments do have power to make and implement unilateral decisions. Dialogue between the regulated and the regulator for a middle ground is always my preferred modus operandi
The G20 will meet again on April 2, 2009 to discuss the new global financial architecture.

Want to know what world leaders are thinking? Well the EU and the UK just met in a precursor meeting.

Read this BBC Article: EU Heads Back Financial Clampdown. Watch the video of Prime Minister Gordon Brown contained herein.

Between now and April is going to be very, very interesting. I'm keeping a close eye on this. Are you?
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Saturday, February 21, 2009

Senator Schumer Adds His Name To The List In Favor Of Bank Nationalization

Senator Schumer whose constituency includes Wall Street, has now added his voice to the debate. And now he's in favor of what he calls "good nationalization"
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost.

Whatever you call it "good nationalization", "detoxification", the effect is the same. Structured, short lived and only to send it back into private hands. In fact, whoever is hired to do the clean up should have their salaries and incentives based on the time it takes to get toxic institutions properly "detoxified". The longer they take, the less money they are paid.

Nationalization of some banks is not only the best for select institutions, but the entire global banking system. It's not an idea or a concept. There are places where "good nationalization"/"detoxification" has worked.

Here's my blog post on it: Why the US Should Nationalize Banks

FYI: Here is the growing list of notable people in favor of and against nationalization: Favouring Nationalization are....

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Brilliant Visual: How We Got Into This Global Mess

I posted this on my other blog: Financial Security: Tips + Tools

Given the topic- credit crisis, main street vs wall street, sub prime mortgages etc., I thought that I would post it here as well for all my readers here who do not follow my other blog. If you follow both blogs, I apologize for the repetition:

If you have been confused by the Credit Crisis, what it means, what is has to do with the average person, what CDOs are, what leverage did etc. then this is the answer for you.

Watch this video in two parts:

The Crisis of Credit Visualized: Part 1

The Crisis of Credit Visualized: Part 2

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Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Grown-Ups Are Here

Division of the Americas into North, Central a...Image via Wikipedia

I'm a really old fashioned person.
  • I believe in having manners, no matter the circumstances.
  • I believe in civilized discussion, no matter the topic.
  • And I believe in the ability to find a common ground, even if that common ground can go no further than to respect differences

So, did anyone catch today's joint press conference between President Obama and President Harper? See here thanks to CSPAN

Now, let me declare bias here. Canada and Jamaica have a special relationship. We are really good friends. It's not a matter that we are members of the Commonwealth, although that is a fact. It is just the way it has always been - Canada and Jamaica are just close.

So, I was not at all surprised to hear Canada and US were civilized, respectful and cooperative. They are working closely on:
  • economic recovery, growth, protection of workers, lowering of taxes etc. (emphasizing people - yes, that is Canada's way)
  • environmental protection and energy security (yes, the environment is priority - that is Canada's way)
  • shared priorities for international peace and security (yes, people must live in civilization - that is Canada's way)
Then, did you listen to how the questions were handled?

Straightforward. Definitive. Absolutely clear on the need for coordination. Absolutely clear that their most pressing trade issues are common and external, not internal. No impression of protectionism whatsoever; lots of support for trade. Protection of sovereignty, respectful of each other without being hostile or domineering, but open to ideas and cooperation - see the answers on the future potential harmonization with regard to regulation?

Did you hear "listening and sharing ideas". Wow!

And did you hear all the explaining? Fantastic, we now have leaders who understand they need to have the patience to explain to people what they are doing and thinking.

Did you hear the understanding that the recovery of one country depends on recovery everywhere else? Sounds like progress to me.

Did you hear open border, integration while keeping security concerns? Amazing, middle ground is nice, eh?

"Threats to the US are threats to Canada". How much more of an ally do you need?

Hear the use of the word "friends"? Yes, that's Canada's way.

This is the kind of leadership the world needs.

Praises be to civilized grown-up behavior.

I expected nothing less of Canada, and I am delighted to see that President Obama has gone to Canada as his first overseas visit and been the world leader I had expected him to be. Great start.

If Canada and the US can start to form a critical mass of common understanding, then we are well on our way to recovery.

Since I live in Jamaica - part of the "Americas" - special thank you to President Obama for looking "forward to the Summit of the Americas. My Administration is fully committed to active and sustained engagement to advance the common security and prosperity of our hemisphere. We will work closely with Canada in advancing these goals and look forward to a meaningful dialogue in Trinidad." Your words. Music to my ears.

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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Why The US Should Nationalize Banks

the world in my handsImage by wilmack via Flickr

I realize I am venturing into a controversial topic, but I think the time has come for us to debate this matter of the US nationalizing its banks seriously.

Please indulge me while I share my background so you can understand my perspective. As it happens, I have some experience in this particular area:
  • I worked with the Ministry of Finance in Jamaica when the local financial sector was in crisis in the 1990s. Although I had no decision-making authority, I did have an incredible amount of exposure to the Government's and the Central Bank's deliberations at the highest levels about what to do, and then I was actually able to see what was done
  • After a brief stint at Harvard for graduate school, I returned to Jamaica and undertook many responsibilities. One of these was as a member of the board of the holding company that held the 4 nationalized entities that the Government had merged into one for re-privatization. The job of the board was to make it into an entity that would attract private capital. Simple mandate: Get ready for re-privatization ASAP. There were what seemed to be zillions of subsidiaries, I sat on the board of many of those and read hundreds of minutes in addition to the re-privatization preparation. It was almost like a full-time job. The nationalized entity was successfully re-privatized, has never had a hint of a problem since and is now owned by Royal Bank of Canada.
  • After a year at the Wharton School where I went back to do my MBA, I was asked to serve in the Government of Jamaica as a Senator and a Deputy Finance Minister. I had to take a Leave of Absence from school to do that. My tenure with the Government as a Senator and Deputy Finance Minister was after the financial sector crisis, and after the re-privatization of the nationalized banks and coincided with strengthening the regulatory framework for the financial sector
I will never claim that Jamaica did it perfectly. But, the sector is stronger than it was before. And like every experience in life, there are learning lessons.

Now with regard to the US, I started writing the weekend of the Lehman collapse. That was the genesis of the notes on Facebook, the commentary of the articles and this blog. I kept writing that I had hoped that by observing what had happened when other countries had their crises, that the US would have learned from those experiences and not make the same mistakes. That did not happen.

Finally, however, there is a new Administration, and a sizable majority in Congress. So things can happen.

We are now debating nationalization of the US banks, so here are my two cents:
  • The private sector is THE engine of growth. Government's job is to facilitate. If, however the private sector is unable to be THE engine of growth, the Government's job is to step in. At no point can the economy come to a standstill, or people die of starvation because of ideology.
  • The financial sector is special - very very special. It is not any sector. It is the sector that facilitates all other sectors. It is not optional. Without a financial sector, people would keep money at home or elsewhere stashed away. That poses a massive national security problem that no country could manage. Without a financial sector, wealth generation would be severely limited, and international trade would come to a virtual standstill.
  • The financial sector cannot - I repeat cannot - operate in the absence of confidence. If institutions are solid and strong, and there is no confidence generally, the whole sector becomes weakened. If the sector is weak and there is no confidence, it becomes crippled. A crippled financial sector results in a national security crisis and economic crisis, at minimum.
  • If the private sector were perfect, there would have been no crisis. Therefore, the argument that governments are inefficient holds no water. What matters is that the government has credibility to borrow from other governments. Private institutions that have been impaired do not have that credibility to borrow - sometimes not even from anyone, any entity or otherwise.
  • What must happen is that private institutions' credibility must be restored ASAP. Those that are solid cannot be made to suffer for those that are weak. Every day you hear on CNBC - "Not sure if you can trust the financials (financial statements) of the banks" "Stay away from the financials stocks". Well, let's examine that. Not all banks have problems. But the rumor mill doesn't distinguish and banks do business with each other. So the whole sector starts getting painted with a brush. Not good. Therefore, those that are solid need to be left alone to do what they do best - without government intervention or nationalization. Jamaica did that. There were a few institutions that did not need intervention, did not ask for intervention, did fine without intervention and are doing just fine today. However, those that are weak should be nationalized, repackaged, made efficient, and then re-privatized on an aggressive timetable. Yes, I did say efficient. The Government can hire private sector experts to evaluate, design and implement what needs to be done for this purpose.
  • Nationalization therefore makes sense when 1) there are serious national security risks from people keeping money at home because of a lack of confidence 2) it is a short term - I repeat, short term measure - for the sole purpose of cleaning up the entities such that private capital will be interested. The Government is not in the business of personal or commercial banking. Nationalization is only to protect depositors, restore normalcy and confidence in the sector, surgically remove what needs to go, and then place the nationalized institution or institutions in a state that will attract private capital
  • NOTE: Nationalization just to nationalize is the wrong move and sends the wrong signal. The Government must be satisfied that depositors are at risk, the banking system is at risk from contagion, and that the entities do not have the capacity and wherewithal to fix their problems themselves.
  • HOWEVER: To oppose nationalization on ideological grounds in not only impractical, it can spell the demise of the entire domestic financial sector, and in the case of the US because of the depth of the inter-linkages, the entire global financial sector. And because the financial sector is so special, we could face global instability, social instability and perpetuated economic decline.

No one can deny that the world changed drastically.

The US Government owes itself, its people, its position of leadership in the world and the global community a clean up plan on an aggressive timetable for its banking sector - no matter what ideology it falls into as long as it works.

Otherwise, the US must decide not only how it is going to deal with its own domestic problems from further bank weakness, but also how it will deal with the world - in any and every way - if its position of economic leadership is lost.

The world has already decided that a new global financial architecture is necessary. Is the US going to help shape it, or just learn to live with it - whatever it is? There are many developing countries that have had to do that. Maybe the US should ask one of them what that feels like - to not lead but to have to follow. Maybe that will give them the impetus to get on with it.

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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Finally! And Thanks :)

Thank You!Image by HuNo (On & Off) via Flickr

Most of my readers know that I love photography. Well, see this one on the right. This is exactly how I feel - hopeful and looking into the light that is illuminating the beautiful, but dark scenery.

I have always been taught to express gratitude. And tonight I am grateful for a stimulus bill that has become law. Finally, there is some light in the darkness.

The pundits will try to depress you that it is not enough. Who cares? It is more than nothing. It is at least one more job that yesterday. It is at least one more unemployment benefit than yesterday. It is at least one more...you, get the picture.

We get to round 2 when we get through round 1.

I am grateful that finally, we can start to move in a forward direction.

I know it's not perfect. I don't expect it to be.

Laws can be amended if they are really causing havoc, so I am not worried there either.

The important thing is that finally, finally, finally after months and trillions of dollars of lost value, there is an actionable plan.

It's no longer an idea, or a point of debate or for some a political football to impede progress.

It is now something real to do real things.


Let's get to work. We don't have even a nanosecond to waste.
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Monday, February 16, 2009

Venezuela's Unclenched Fist? Extended Hand?

An often recurring symbol of peace is a dove c...Image via Wikipedia

Now, before I write, I must state that Jamaica and Venezuela have always had excellent relations. Venezuela is Venezuela. Jamaica is Jamaica. Venezuela does not ask Jamaica to be Venezuela; Jamaica does not ask Venezuela to be Jamaica.

However, Venezuela and the US....well, let's say they have not been the best of friends in recent years.

So, do you remember President Obama's inaugural speech? Remember this line: "...but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist." Full Text of Speech.

By and large, Americans (to be clear, not Jamaicans) would describe Venezuela as having a "clenched fist" with respect to their bilateral relations. By and large, the IOCs would subscribe to a similar view with respect to their relations with Venezuela

Well, have you been following Venezuela's extending hand? Have you been following the news out of Venezuela?

First, it was reported that President Chavez is willing to talk to the IOCs (International Oil Companies) again. See International Herald Tribue article here: Chavez reopens oil bids to West as prices plunge

Now it's reported that he's ready to talk to President Obama "any day". See article in the NY Times: Chavez reaches out to Obama ahead of vote

Whatever the motivation, willingness to dialogue is always preferable to hostility.

Whatever the motivation, whenever oil rich countries are the ones willing to talk, the world generally benefits.

Let's hope that the US and Venezuela do talk, can find some middle ground of civilized discourse - at minimum. The world will be better off for it.

If they agree to cooperate, that would be a milestone worth celebrating!
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Sunday, February 15, 2009

What's The Real Objection To Assessing The Nationalization Option?

Uncle Sam Explains it All to YouImage by Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com via Flickr

Nationalizing the US Banks? Now, just now, people want to talk about this?

Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

If the objection is based on "we, don't like the idea of it", well, that is just not good enough in my humble opinion.

The banking sector must function in order for the rest of the economy to function, and the rest of society for that matter. The US and the world cannot continue on this path of "we hope these interventions will work". The interventions may have prevented a complete free fall, but the banking system is not working as it is intended to do - support the growth and development of the economy.

Here's where I'm confused though. Are Republicans going to be in favor of it - like Senator Graham in this video - and then not vote for it just because? Are Democrats going to not vote for it because the banking lobby is probably one of the strongest?

Real options must be considered realistically - not with ideology but in the harsh cold reality of today considering the US and the US' position in the world.

What's a brief - very very brief - nationalization if it gets the economy back on track quickly? Or would everyone prefer the US economy to continue to sputter until it cannot go on anymore at all just so lawmakers can say "Well at least we didn't nationalize". What would be the point of that since if there's no economy, there would be no point of having lawmakers, would there?

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Saturday, February 14, 2009

Same Blog, New Look!

Construction WorkImage by gullevek via Flickr

Just wanted to let all my readers know that the blog is in the process of improvement.

The objective is to make it as useful and relevant to you all without a lot of "unnecessary clutter".

All the original posts are still here here. A new one will be up by tomorrow.

For those of you who have been following my progress with my New Year's resolutions, you might remember that this was the month for me to undertake a major photography project. For reference, here is the original resolutions post: Nine for '09 and January Update: Nine for '09

Well, today was the second all day photography class. There will be four in the series. I am absolutely loving every second of it! And learning so much!

So that you can follow my progress, I have now embedded a slide show of some of the shots I've taken with some of the techniques. The slide show is just below the YouTube Bloomberg channel on the right.

Comments welcome! :)
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Friday, February 13, 2009

Is This For Real? Republicans Support The Bill But Don't Want To Vote For It?

Work of the United States Senate, Credited to ...Image via Wikipedia

Is this for real?

Senator Specter says some of his colleagues support the bill but don't want to vote for it.

Huh? Are they kidding?

And politicians wonder why the general public by and large despises politics ?

So, if Senator Specter's colleagues are supportive but unwilling to vote, am I to understand that the House Republicans again provided not one vote in favor of the bill not because they have a substantial point of difference, but because they just don't want to vote for it?

So Republicans would rather have history record that they did nothing to help the people because they have elections coming up?

Is that what politicians get voted in to do? Stay in office by any means necessary, including doing nothing for the people who elected them?

So what's the point of democracy if you aren't going to say and do something constructive for the people? Are Republicans reading the world economic and political news? Do they understand what has been on the line since this crisis started? Is this going to go on for the next four years? Opposing just to oppose when so much is on the line?

Memo to House and Senate Republicans: Please think of the people you represent - all of them.

Read the Article at HuffingtonPost
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Thursday, February 12, 2009

Dear President Obama: Can I Be Your Commerce Secretary?

Logo of the United States Economic Development...Image via Wikipedia

Ok, so I'm not serious.

But I am seriously concerned about the fact that there is no Commerce Secretary after two tries. Bill Richardson had what we will call a "personal problem", and now Judd Gregg is having what's appears to be some version of a "conscience problem".

If you have followed this blog, you may have noted the post I dedicated to the announcement of the nomination of Bill Richardson - The Richardson Promotion. I invite you to have another look at it to see why I thought the job is so important today. It may not have been really important in the past, but in today's world it is getting more important by the second. In a nutshell, the Commerce Department exists to "promote, foster and develop the foreign and domestic commerce". With borders closing and joblessness rising in the US and worldwide, sounds like a pretty important job to me.

So President Obama, since you have not yet found a third candidate, let me volunteer. Here's why I'm asking to be your Commerce Secretary:
  • I believe in realism and have limited patience for ideology. In fact, I'm getting allergic to ideology. Here's how I see the world: What is the problem? What are the options? What are the constraints? What is the best solution given the constraints? When are we going to do it? Haven't we fixed it yet?? Hmnnn.....no questioning ideology there.
  • I believe even one more job is better than nothing. The more jobs the better. The faster we get the jobs the better. I do not support and cannot understand the school of thought that joblessness is not a monumental problem. The cost to society cannot be overstated. So, the stimulus bill that creates jobs - doesn't matter how much or what else is in it - is good enough for me as long as there are no constitutional violations
  • I believe that immediate relief is critical or the economy will become paralyzed. People without jobs become desperate and filled with despair. People with jobs just waiting for the "bad" to become" worse" are unproductive. A stimulus bill that provides immediate relief is good enough for me - as long as there are no constitutional violations.
  • States and infrastructure must get assistance to ensure that goods are produced and transported within the US and inside and outside the country. A stimulus bill that provides some form of assistance to states and infrastructure is good enough for me - as long as there are no constitutional violations.
  • I believe in getting along with the world, and interacting with other countries and cultures on a basis of mutual respect. C'mon, I grew up in Jamaica - we have no external enemies. We get along with everybody.
  • I believe in sustainable fair trade. Exploiting others is not only immoral, it only leads to diminished markets in the long term. Mutual opportunities for growth is the best way to proceed.
  • I believe that commerce can be a valuable tool for peace because prosperous people would rather go on with their lives as they see fit as long as they can afford it, rather than live in fear and terror.
  • I believe that the private sector is THE engine of growth. I did go to business school - twice (undergraduate and graduate). But I do believe that the Government must provide limited interventions where necessary, and more interventions if warranted to prevent complete market seizure or economic collapse. How long have we been talking about market seizure and economic collapse? And who was in power when the downward spiral started? Why Republicans are not in favor of Government interventions so that the private sector can quickly get back to its position of being THE engine of growth is just beyond my comprehension. Oh, wait - that would involve me taking time to debate ideology and we are just about running out of time for that luxury.
  • I am excited beyond words at the prospects of change and transformation to a green economy. Hey, two degrees in the environment and being raised in a gorgeous tropical island - what else do you expect? I know the green revolution is a "need to have"; it is not a "nice to have"
So, that's why I would want to be considered. But, since I can't be considered - could we have someone who thinks like I do, or is that asking too much? :)

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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Democracy At Its Finest!

United States CapitalImage by _Robert C_ via Flickr

For those of us who believe deeply in democracy, today was a day to be very proud.

Despite the expectation that the House and the Senate of the US Congress would have a difficult task ahead in reconciling their differences to get a bill passed, within a day - yes, a day - they have managed to reach an agreement.

After what we have seen in the last few months in Congress, this was a much needed moment - not just to have an agreement, but to show that democracy can work, people can be civil, have their differences, but find a middle ground, and find a middle ground quickly.

This video is worth watching: House, Senate Agree On "Right-Sized" Stimulus.

Listen for yourself because Senator Baucus (D) and Senator Snowe (R) get it (list not exclusive of select quotes):
  • "this is the right thing to do"
  • "much is expected from those to whom much is given"
  • "all those who seek public office are expected by the people we represent to do the right thing, work together for them"
  • "bill will create 3.5 million jobs"
  • "turn the recession around"
  • "showing people who have lost jobs we care, showing people who may lose jobs that we care"
  • "showing the world that the US Government is standing up, is leading"
  • "a lot of give and take to meet American's objectives"
  • "gravity of circumstances"
  • "consensus based solution"
  • "critical time in our nation's history"
  • "the question is what works for this country"
  • "job creation"
  • "assisting those displaced"
  • "make investments in the jobs for future"
  • "jumpstart this economy"
  • "American people have the assurance that we can develop the solutions to make a profound difference at this very grave moment in time"
The legislation may not be perfect. No legislation is.

But these intentions, are as close to perfect as we will get.

Congress has done exactly what Congress exists to do. Well done!
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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Obama On Banking Crisis: We Can't "Prolong The Agony"

BandaidImage by Mimi_K via Flickr

Well, it doesn't get much clearer than that.

And is that what they want to hear? I think not.

Is it what has to be done? I think so.

So, let's get on with it.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost
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Markets Are Information Junkies

The New York stock exchange traders' floor (1963)Image via Wikipedia

Yes, markets are information junkies. More, more, more.
  • If markets don't hear "enough", then they tank.
  • If markets don't hear what they "like", then they tank.
President Obama is between a rock and a hard place. Transparency and announcements will not promote market stability unless markets hear what they deem is "appropriate".

And the only thing that will make markets happy now is lots of money, no questions asked, no regulations, and that the government will take the bad assets and pay the companies handsomely for them. And everybody goes back to the way things were before the crash regardless of the consequences. Since Secretary Geithner cannot tell them that, then evidently we will continue to have a problem. Today, it was reported that markets reacted negatively to his "plan". Oh, that's so shocking.

My 2 cents: Come up with a detailed plan, share it only with the potential participants, come to an agreement, implement it and then make grand announcements for the media and the general public to dissect. Frankly, no one really knows how to fix it, especially those with the least amount of information - that would be everybody except the troubled institutions and the Government.

About Timothy Geithner
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost
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Monday, February 9, 2009

Hip Hip Hooray for Democracy!

The Two Houses of CongressImage by ethanlindsey via Flickr

Tonight, thanks to all the Senate Democrats - especially Ted Kennedy who returned specifically for this vote - and Republicans Senators Olympia Snowe (Maine), Susan Collins (Maine) and Arlen Specter (Pennsylvania), the US and the world is one gigantic step closer to stability, closer to recovery, closer to job creation, and closer to the return of "normalcy".

Yes, tonight was the indicative vote on the Stimulus Bill but it was indicative that it would pass with 61 votes. Tomorrow is the real vote.

Whatever the motivations of the Republicans, they found something they could live with. They were willing to keep talking until they did, but did so quickly recognizing the urgency of the problem. Democracy did well tonight. And in all of US history, this period will be one of the most pivotal and the names Snowe, Collins and Specter will be recorded for having placed their priorities in the right place - at least trying to do something for the people.

After tomorrow, it will be up to the House to reconcile their differences. Let's hope for even more people who want to be on the right side of history. And let's hope for another good day for Democracy.

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Saturday, February 7, 2009

Memo To Congess: Did You Catch This Bit Of News?

World Trade OrganizationImage via Wikipedia

The Wall Street Journal ran an interesting article today. Although the title, says it all - the article itself is well worth reading. Nations Rush To Establish New Barriers To Trade

  • Maybe it was the sheer number of countries reportedly erecting trade barriers
  • Maybe it was the countries in particular that were reportedly erecting trade barriers
  • Or maybe it was the special meeting the WTO feels it needs to have on Monday. Yes, this coming Monday.
Now, I have often criticized globalization. But I am not anti-globalization. Rather, I am pro-globalization that is fair and sustainable.

So now, we have a position of hostility developing. Is this supposed to be progress? Because I am not getting that impression.

So since the crash in September 2008, let's do an ideological check:
  • Capitalism took a major hit - some say permanent, others say altered
  • Democracy looked dicey when the Republican party had not one but two internal party revolts when it was in power. And, by the way, Democracy's not looking so great now with all this bickering and inability to find a compromise
  • And now, Globalization is on thinner ice than it was before
And by the way, aren't these all the bedrock of American foreign policy?

So here's my question for the Republicans. Is it the tax cuts they are holding out for? Because, frankly if something does not happen ASAP, I really don't see the point of them.
  • Because businesses have to sell and trade and have markets to make money to even have money to pay taxes. Barriers to trade make that kind of difficult
  • And oh yes, business do need inputs, right? So, what happens when those prices go up because everybody is seeing who can erect the most barriers?
  • And one more thing, when was the last time you looked at the data from the US Department of Commerce - the US depends on the world quite a bit.
Again, every time there is a delay the cost goes up. There has to be spending. There's no avoiding it. But why make the tag higher than it needs to be? No trade or limited trade or difficult trade means money has to come from somewhere. That's State Subsidization. And that ideology is somewhere along the lines of Socialism. And which party would honestly be responsible?

Ironic, isn't it?

Congress, if you missed that WSJ article, may I humbly suggest that you have a quick look at it?
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Friday, February 6, 2009

Why The World Needs Bob Marley Today

Bob Marley live in concert in Zurich, Switzerl...Image via Wikipedia

Today is Bob Marley's birthday. He is the ultimate embodiment of "reasoning", so it is fitting that this blog will feature Bob Marley as today's blog post.

Personally, I cannot imagine my life without having known his music. From the day I was born, Bob Marley has been playing in my house. My family knew him, but I was too young to remember. And although I can sing the words of every single song, and find a song for every mood or occasion, I don't remember him.

I do remember the day he died. My mother picked me up from school and told me when I got in the car. I was 9, but I remember it like it was yesterday.

I've often said:
  • If you need inspiration - listen to Bob
  • If you need cheering up - listen to Bob
  • If you are angry about or with someone or something - listen to Bob
  • Or if you just want some vibes - listen to Bob
Importantly, if you want to understand the real world - listen to Bob.

His words and music are timeless. He always has just the right thing to say.

Needless to say, the impression Bob Marley has had and continues to have on my life is immeasurable.

Everywhere I go, and I meet someone and they ask me "Where are you from?" I say "Jamaica". Without fail, the response is "Jamaica, Bob Marley!" With a smile.

Watch his concerts and over-packed venues with screaming fans in countries that don't even speak English as a first language, let alone Jamaican dialect (patois). Watch their faces - they know every word.

That a man could come from such humble beginnings could impact the whole world in this timeless manner is mind boggling. That he continues to do so, conquering the world with messages of peace, love and overcoming rather that what we have become accustomed to - hatred and war, is indeed stupendous. As Jamaicans, we should all be proud. Maybe if the world listened to a little more Bob, half our problems would be over.

There's something in his life we should all know, or remember. On April 22, 1978, Bob had the One Love Peace Concert. Jamaica was embroiled in such bitter political divisions and warfare, it nearly tore us apart. Look up Jamaica's history - this is not an exaggeration. The concert was to cool down the warfare.

Bob called the leaders of the two parties on stage to hold hands in unity with him - for the people. That they did so amazed everyone.

Here is that video clip. Listen to what he's saying. If you don't understand Jamaican patois, let me translate: He's saying "Show the people that we're going to unite. Show the people that we're going to do them right. Show the people that everything is alright". And then he called for Michael Manley (the then Prime Minister) and Edward Seaga (the then Leader of the Opposition), and they joined hands with him

Then he says "Show the people that we're going to unite. That we mean them right" (Mean them right means having their best interests at heart)

A lot of unity would carry us a far way right now.

Need a song to inspire you in this global economic crisis we are in: "Wake Up and Live"


Wake up and live, y'all,
Wake up and live!
Wake up and live now!
Wake up and live!

Life is one big road with lots of signs,
So when you riding through the ruts, don't you complicate your mind:
Flee from hate, mischief and jealousy!
Don't bury your thoughts; put your vision to reality, yeah!

All together now:
Wake up and live (wake up and live, y'all),
Wake up and live (wake up and live),
wake up and wake up and live, yeah! (wake up and live now),
Wake up and (wake up and live) - wake up and live!

Rise ye mighty people, ye-ah!
There's work to be done,
So let's do it-a little by little:
Rise from your sleepless slumber! Yes, yeah! Yes, yeah!
We're more than sand on the seashore,
We're more than numbers.

All together now:
Wake up and live now, y'all!
(Wake up and live) Wake up and live!
Wake up and live, y'all!
(Wake up and live) Wake up and live now!

You see, one - one cocoa full a basket,
Whey they use you live big today: tomorrow you buried in-a casket.
One - one cocoa full a basket, yeah, yes!
Whey they use you live big today: tomorrow you bury in-a casket.

W'all together now:
(Wake up and live now!) Wake up and live! Oh! Yeah-eah!
(Wake up and live!) Uh!
(Wake up and live now!) Wake up and live!
(Wake up and live) Keep on playin'!
(Wake up and live, y'all) Uh! Yeah! Yeah!
(Wake up and live!)
(Wake up and live now!)
(Wake up and live!) Break it down!
[Saxophone solo]
Come on, man!
How is it feelin' over there?
(Wake up and live now) All right!
(Wake up and live!) Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
Come on, man!
You gotta wake up and live!
Life is one big road with lots of signs, yes!
So when you riding through the ruts, don't you complicate your mind:
Flee from hate, mischief and jealousy!
Don't bury your thoughts; put your dream to reality, yeah!

W'all together now:
(Wake up and live, y'all)
(Wake up and live!) Wake up and live, yea-eah!
(Wake up and live now!)
(Wake up and live!)
Wake up and live now!
(Wake up and live) Wo-oh!
Wake up and live now!
Wake up and live

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Thursday, February 5, 2009

Yes, President Obama - Tell Them!

WASHINGTON - JANUARY 20:  Barack H. Obama is s...Image by Getty Images via Daylife

President Obama says "The time for talk is over. The time for action is now."

Watch him in this video courtesy of MSNBC. It is worth watching.

Also, in a different piece in today's Washington Post: The Action Americans Need, he spells it all out. And please check out the very last line: "The writer is the president of the United States". That he is!

Senator Harry Reid now says he has the votes to pass a stimulus bill. Today, CNBC reported that passage may come next week. Let's get on with it!
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Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Is America no longer at war? Did I miss the announcement?

House of CongressImage by CS Muncy via Flickr

No, really? Is America still fighting a war in two countries, and fighting terror and facing international threats? That must be all over because I can see no other reason for this incessant delay in passing the stimulus bill.

Look, I get politics and politicians. I had the privilege of serving in the Senate. I understand the need, and the responsibility more importantly to be heard and to speak up. Making law is an extremely serious responsibility that can make or break a person's life, and an entire society. I understand the need to represent your constituents. But what is going on? Is this really what you are all doing?

Honestly, I am lost. Last I heard, America was at war. Economic instability cannot be helping your military strength. You need money to fight, and economic power to negotiate. If you have economic stability in a global interconnected world, there is more incentive to find peaceful solutions since all countries have a vested interest in find opportunities for their own economies to grow - i.e., markets and people who can afford to consume their goods and services. Maybe you don't remember when the world was more polarized and we were not so interconnected - when people did not see advantages of trade. Do you remember what they did? They just preferred to conquer.

I thought the internal bickering stops at the water's edge. I thought the country was united in the face of a foreign threat. Does no one make the connection between economic stability and ability to defend themselves?

You know what the problem is? Job security. Yes, the people with the power to pass the stimulus bill have job security. Unless there is a revolution, or they are found to be corrupt, they cannot be removed. They have to be voted out on a certain date in the future by law. And that's democracy and democracy is good. But somehow, there is a major disconnect between the people who are guaranteed monthly cheques for a number of years to come and those who have lost their jobs and others who fear every moment of every day if they are going to lose their jobs tomorrow or the next day. Somehow, Congress seems to be missing the day to day reality of the rest of the population they serve who do not have job security, and are becoming paralyzed with fear of the unknown. Every day that the Congress does not act, they are making the situation worse.

Congress needs to find something that it can live with and do it quickly. Bad law is worse than no law. But no law is worse than inaction. As long as you are not behaving in an unconstitutional manner and affecting the rights of your citizens, you can find middle ground. Law is never perfect, but it can be sufficiently effective. If you don't ever get pass round 1, how will you get to round 2? When will anything else get done if the economy becomes frozen?

Here's a video of President Obama explaining what is in the stimulus and what it is intended to achieve.

You have to be independent to have a Congress. Perhaps Congress should give some thought to whether its own job security is on the line.

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Monday, February 2, 2009

History Made Today

transparent version of :Image:Olympic flag.Image via Wikipedia

Well, I think real history was made today:

1. Hillary Clinton - a woman, a former Senator from NY, a former First Lady, a former Presidential Candidate, the only female Presidential Candidate for the Democratic Party and the woman who engaged in the most competitive battle for the Democratic Nomination for President of the USA - was sworn in today as Secretary of State in the Administration of the man who beat her for the Nomination, now President Barack Obama.

2. Eric Holder - an African American, of Caribbean (Barbados) heritage - was confirmed by the US Senate to be the USA's first African American Attorney General, an event eclipsed only by the fact that it is in the Administration of the first African American President.

And, some may find this one controversial, but I just have to say it:

3. The IOC (International Olympic Committee) has accepted Michael Phelps' apology for his photograph with with Marijuana Bong. We all know who Michael Phelps is - the superstar American swimmer who took home 8 gold medals in the Beijing Olypics.

In a statement, the IOC expressed confidence that he would continue to be a "good role model" - a direct quote from the statement See Sports Illustrated story - The IOC Confident that Phelps will Continue as a Role Model Despite Photo.

Now this post is not about Michael Phelps. It's about Jacques Rogge

Now, the current President of the IOC - Mr. Jacques Rogge - is the same Mr. Jacques Rogge who chided, yes scolded as his very first response, the other superstar of the Beijing Olympics - Jamaica's Usain Bolt. Who is Usain Bolt? Let me remind us all. Jamaica's Usain Bolt took home
  • the Men's 100M gold in a World Record of 9.69s making him the fastest man on the planet and
  • the Men's 200M gold in a World Record of 19.30s by the biggest margin ever making Jamaica the only country to ever set World Records in both the Men's 100M and Men's 200M in the same Olympics and
  • took home gold in the Men's 4X100M in a World Record of 37.10s making him the only sprinter to ever set three world records in the same Olympics
He set a World Record in every race he ran in the same Olympics - all three races.

What exactly did Mr. Rogge say? That Usain Bolt should "show more respect" - a direct quote (See Story from AOL Canada - Rogge: Bolt Should 'Show More Respect')

And what did Usian Bolt do that made Mr. Rogge believe he needed scolding, and needed to 'show more respect'? And no, there was no effusive congratulations accompanying it. What was so horrible that Rogge completely dampened the euphoria the whole international athletic community, fans and well wishers all over the world, and the country of Jamaica felt at Bolt's success? Bolt congratulated himself after setting the 100M World Record and taking home the gold. Yes, he was accused of being unsportsmanlike. Oh, and Bolt's achievement was completely free of performance enhancing drugs. You've heard of performance enhancing drugs? They're those things that make the Olympics so scandalous.

Now, what do you think of the IOC's acceptance of Michael Phelps apology and accompanying statement? History? Yes! Double standard? Just a little.

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Sunday, February 1, 2009

January Update: Nine for '09 resolutions

New Year's ResolutionsImage by zeitkunst via Flickr

Life has taught me that part of effective leadership is making goals, timelines and achieving them. Total Leadership (click here for book flyer) - taught me how to achieve real sustainable change efficiently in all 4 domains of life - "work", "home", "community" and "self" - on an integrated basis.

Click here for Amazon.com: See the author Stew Friedman on video and buy the book.

I had included my resolutions in this Reasoning the Reasons blog - which is focused on commentary on global economic and political news - because I believe we all have to be the change; each and every one of us. So I posted - Nine for '09 - at the beginning of this year, my New Years resolutions. In a nutshell, I made a list of 9 things I wanted to make sure I achieved, plus a stretch target. And remember, these were not in any particular order of priority.

Today is February 1st, so since some of them are monthly - at minimum - here is my first update of how I'm doing.


Resolution 1. Read at least one non-business or non-political book per month

Progress: On the positive side, I have been reading much more. Although, to be truthful, I was supposed to be reading books completely different from business and politics. I've read a number of personal finance books - "how to" and motivational. Do those count as non-business and non-political? I think so. :) Plus, in keeping with Total Leadership principals, this goal integrates well with Resolutions 4, 5, 6 and 8 which I will get into more below. Anyway, if you think it doesn't count, for next month I'll read a book by a famous philosopher loaned to me by a colleague from the office. :)


Resolution 2. Undertake at least one significant photography project for the year.

I registered and paid for a photography class that starts next weekend. (And, in keeping with Resolution 4, I made sure I got my discount). It's for one month, one day per week all day. I am really looking forward to that. Back to Total Leadership integration again - learning a new skill would be consistent with Resolution 4. Creativity and out-of-the box thinking through art training can be transferable to the work environment. This resolution is also consistent with Resolution 7, because photographs are extremely powerful communicative tools in blogs.


Resolution 3. Be consistent with my exercise regime and dietary habits.
Progress: My dietary regime is completely in tact. However, my exercising dropped off to 5 days a week. I was doing 6 days and had a goal of 7 days. As usual, something "comes up". Although, I increased my workout from 60 minutes to 90 minutes. So in effect, I am exercising more. However, I want the discipline of daily exercise, even if some days I exercise for less than an hour. So that shall be my adjusted goal - every day, seven if some days are less than an hour. How is Total Leadership integration achieved here? This is primarily the "self" domain, and health and strength are the foundation of achieving progress in all other domains of life, and therefore achieving all other Resolutions.


Resolution 4. Prioritize personal finances.

Progress: Well, if ever doubted the power of Resolutions, I am now a complete believer. This one has really taken off, and literally become part of my daily routine. Again, consistent with Total Leadership principles, I have achieved integration with Resolutions 1, 5, 6 and 8. I've been so busy here with the following:
  • reading books, articles and blogs and expanding my knowledge base immensely
  • conducting personal finance experiments and have found new ways to earn, save and invest. Developing, implementing, monitoring and measuring experiments are critical tools of the Total Leadership framework to achieve real change
  • developing strategies for the family based on new trends and innovations
  • and much more
Plus, as an added bonus, I work with a multinational financial institution. So this knowledge is immediately transferable to my job in keeping up with current trends and innovations. This is yet another Total Leadership integration principle, and one of the critical ones since so many people often find the "work" domain completely divergent from and in competition with the "home", "community" and "self" domains


Resolution 5. Learn a new skill/Do a refresher course.
Progress: Truthfully, when I wrote this one down, I wasn't sure what it was going to be. But because I had set it down as a goal, I focused to find one and did. It has turned out to be blogging. In January, I learned an incredible amount about blogging. If you look at my older posts, or if you have been following this blog, you will see that much has changed.
  • There are more images, widgets, a Google search tool, blog feeds which are updated automatically, labels, more links within posts, news links showing current news, and links to Amazon where I have selected Bob Marley's Survival album as inspiration for the time; after all There is "So Much Trouble in the World" but we have to "Wake Up and Live!". Click on it and listen to snippets of the songs!
  • With the help of the World Wide Web, I learned and am still learning how to edit html code (a little), and how to publicize effectively.
  • With the help of the World Wide Web, I've learned how to use new forms of software with my blogs that can make them more interesting and user friendly.
Moreover, I've even started another blog called Earn and Save More Money - which I spoke about in Resolution 4. That blog has much more interactive functionality - all of which I learned in the last month. Again, through Total Leadership principles, I am achieving integration with Resolutions 1, 4, and 8. I'm updating my blogs all the time, but promise not to make my sites too busy or confusing.


Resolution 6. Do at least one unexpected nice thing for my family every month.

Progress: Honestly, too many to mention here. But take my word for it, I've been keeping this resolution. :) Again, in keeping with Total Leadership principles, this resolution achieved integration primarily with Resolution 4, although the activities were much broader than that.


Resolution 7. Watch at least one new movie every month - DVD or at the cinema.
Progress: Unfortunately, I did not watch any animated movies in January. But, I did go to the cinema twice and saw Bride Wars and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Both achieved the objective: sufficiently light hearted (Bride Wars) and unrealistic (Benjamin Button) to be a fun evening out. Much thanks to my friends who love going to the movies! Again, in keeping with Total Leadership principles, this resolution achieved integration primarily with Resolution 4, as movies are an affordable yet fully enjoyable mode of entertainment, as well as keeping my creative juices flowing for work.


Resolution 8. Blog.
Progress: I've talked about learning blogging as my new skill in Resolution 5. I've also talked about reading more about personal finance in Resolution 1 and I am using that reading to write from an informed position. I blog more now because I have much more information to share, I have two personal blogs to maintain and I have volunteered to write for my company's blog - JNBS Blog. Do you see Total Leadership integration principles at work again? :)


Resolution 9. Maintain my gratitude journal.

Progress: Every single night so far! Just as planned. Again, Total Leadership integration principles at work again since all of the above Resolutions are some of subject matters I write about.


Stretch Target: This would be 10, but let's call it a Stretch Target (a marketing term for an extremely ambitious goal): Start writing a book.

Progress: Well, I'm writing and reading so much more now that it's good practice. I do have some ideas and have been whittling them down. And as luck would have it, a former Wharton School classmate contacted me this week to help him with a book project, although I'm not going say what it is. :) So, it's not such a stretch target after all! This is a prime example of what Total Leadership can achieve - integration of domains, Resolutions and goals, and making progress where you may not have been able to make before.


How have I managed to keep and exceed my Resolutions?

The reason why I achieved so much, is precisely because I integrated my resolutions, and made them all doable with the exception of one stretch target. I am achieving more that I set out which is motivation in of itself. I've not only integrated my Resolutions, I've integrated the 4 domains - "work", "home", "community" and "self".

If you want to see a video of me explaining Total Leadership in this New York Times piece, click this link: "A Catchy Title and Contagious Formula for Leadership"

If you are a blog follower, Professor Stew Friedman's Total Leadership Blog Link is here.

Tell me how you are doing! See you in March for the February update!

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Creative Commons License
Reasoning The Reasons by Deika Morrison is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.