Sunday, January 27, 2019


I attended an MLK Day event the night before the holiday which was filled with music from around the world and presentations on those who, like Martin Luther King, seek justice through non-violent means. It was quite moving.

It is my belief that the root cause of racist, criminal and violent thinking and actions is a common mental construct that puts the self above others. It is a lack of compassion and empathy. It is a belief that I am better than you and that my group however defined - nationality, skin color, economic status - is better than yours.

A compassionate and empathetic person does not view skin color any differently than hair color. A compassionate and empathetic person does not view someone with less wealth as less worthy.

During the slavery period in the United States, the poorest white person in the south took comfort in knowing that it least he or she was not black. Such thinking is a coping mechanism to make one feel better about oneself.

Wouldn't it be nice if the way everyone felt better about themselves was because they were more compassionate, empathetic and nice? That is the dream.

Sunday, January 20, 2019


On a long business flight last week I watched the movie Peppermint. It was an interesting movie to watch, especially for me. In the movie three members of a drug gang murder the husband and daughter of Riley North, played by Jennifer Garner. North is able to identify the killers; however, they are able to escape prosecution due to the workings of corrupt judges, lawyers and law enforcement personnel. I can relate.

North disappears for 5 years and then on the anniversary of her husband and daughter's deaths, the three killers are found murdered. Guess who did it? She then moves on to the judge. And then up the drug gang to the leader. She leaves an impressive trail of dead bad guys.

The story reminded me a lot of the The Count of Monte Cristo in that she used the tools of her oppressors against them.

The movie was enjoyable but disturbing as well. Even through the corruption I see and in many cases have experienced first hand in the legal system, if not overtly as bad as is depicted in the movie, results just as much pain, suffering and death. Yet I would never go down the path of violence. One, it is not in my nature. Two, violence, even when done against an evil person, tends to increase violence  in general. But most importantly, eliminating a few bad people is a small fix. What I want to see, is the corruption eliminated so that others in the future do not have to suffer as I and so many others have. Unfortunately there will always be some bad people. Our legal and law enforcement system is suppose to minimize the harm such people can do. When these systems themselves because criminally corrupt, they act like a metastasizing cancer vastly increasing crime and suffering throughout society.

Although I do admit that I hope people like Nelly Wince, Judge Mearly, the members of the Lawyers Professional Responsibility Board and all the others who acted unethically or criminally agaisnt me and my kids see Peppermint and wonder if one day someone they hurt will see the movie and come for them. They do not need to worry about me, as I say I do not have a violent nature, but it isn't like I am their only victim.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Life Sentence - Florida's Alimony Problem Documentary

Florida has been trying for years to reform alimony. Twice bills have passed the legislature only to be vetoed by Governor Rick Scott. The all volunteer Florida Family Law Reform PAC has released a new video detailing the dire need for reform. It is well worth a watching. 

Life Sentence - Florida's Alimony Problem Documentary

As an extra bonus, at a manager conference last week we were shown the following video which is actually an ad for a Danish television station. It is possibly the best best diversity training you will ever have. Like many people from work, I have shared it with my kids.

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Equality Is Good And It Is Good For Everyone

In discussing the movie RBG, which I wrote about in my last post,  I am always surprised and a little disappointed how many people define equality as better for them rather than better for everyone. Equality is not a zero sum issue. Equality helps everyone.

Many people view gender inequality as only hurting women. They seems unable or unwilling to admit that the very same inequality is the reason that only men are drafted, virtually all deaths in the military are men and nearly all alimony is paid for by men. That doesn't sound like such a good deal for men to me.  Or how about the classic line when a ship is sinking, you know it - women and children first. Are men's lives somehow less valuable than women's?

The benefits of equality actually go much deeper. Although I no longer have direct reports at work when I did, some of my best people were women. If the pool to select from was limited to only men, it would have negatively impacted my career because much of my success was dependent on the performance of the people I hired.

Equality is good and it is good for everyone.

Clearly there is discrimination against women. I would love to see half our politicians to be women and half of executives, indeed all workers, be women. I also want to see half of housework and child caring to be done by men. And I want to see half of yard work to be done by women. I want half of combat soldiers to be women. Currently half of new doctors are women which is great. But lets also see half of nurses be men. I want alimony to be paid by women half the time or better yet have it eliminated entirely as the whole basis of alimony is that women are unable to take care of themselves.

Expanding beyond gender I would like to see equality for all races and sexual orientation. Every profession should reflect the demographics of society.

The path to achieving equality and justice for all is not to solely focus on the impact of inequality for one group. It is to recognize that all inequality is unjust.