The Importance of Supervision


Your most valuable assets are your time and attention. No matter how clever you are, no matter how well educated, there is no way to add hours to the day. Most of us understand this, and I talk about it in The Power of Scheduling What is Important. The tricky part is figuring out just what is important. To your direct reports, your time and attention are a valuable resource. If you are a good leader, these are gold to them. Their success can depend on you.

I have always made a practice of scheduled supervision with all my direct reports for an hour every week. These sessions are our formal times. As things come up during the week, we can easily have calls or take a moment to talk. However, knowing we have a scheduled time, I find both sides save things for that conversation.

While I am very much an “open door” leader, in a supervision session, the door is shut. That is my direct reports’ time, and only a true emergency is a reason to disrupt it. It is a blessing to have a good Executive Assistant to screen out anything but a true emergency. Most of the time, however, we must teach our direct reports when it is okay to interrupt or not.

A Reintroduction


Hi everyone, it’s been quite a while since I last posted on Ricochet (2018) so I thought it would be a good time to reintroduce myself.

I am a West Australian who originally joined Ricochet back in 2016. For those of you who were here at that time, you will remember there was a lot of very spirited debate during the primary and then the presidential election of that year with some well-reasoned arguments on both sides.

Remembering Ronnie Spector


Singer Veronica Greenfield, better known by her stage name Ronnie Spector, has died. I won’t pretend to be an expert on her life or career, but I can tell you this: Presenting the Fabulous Ronettes Featuring Veronica has not been bested by any pop music since. I don’t think it can be. Songs like “Be My Baby” and “Walking in the Rain” are a perfection of the form, though it would be wrong to talk about the music of The Ronettes only in terms of pop. It’s some of the greatest American music, period.

The Ronettes, as well as most of the notable girl groups of the ’60s, owe much of their success to producer Phil Spector who Ronnie married in 1968. All the producing genius in the world would’ve meant zilch had Phil not been working with singers of such immense talent as Ronnie, her sister Estelle, and their cousin Nedra Talley. As lead singer, Ronnie is the star of those records. Her voice was as powerful as it was beautiful, the envy of angels. She would shine no matter who was in the studio with her. Phil was lucky to have her. Unfortunately, though unsurprisingly in light of his later conviction for murder, Phil was an abusive scumbag. They divorced in 1974. She kept the surname for business purposes.

Her post-Ronettes career didn’t bring the same financial success, but artistically she was as vibrant as ever. Of particular note to me was She Talks to Rainbows released in 1999. The EP was produced by Joey Ramone. Girl groups were a major influence on the Ramones whose divisive End of the Century was produced by Phil Spector and featured a cover of The Ronettes “Baby, I Love You” (read the Wikipedia article for more anecdotes about Phil’s overbearing, horrific behavior). She Talks to Rainbows sees Ronnie return the favor, covering two Ramones tracks, as well as tracks by Johnny Thunders and The Beach Boys. In the coming days, you’re going to see a lot of people posting “Be My Baby”, but for me, Ronnie’s crowning jewel is this eponymous song, a cover that turns a forgettable song into a masterpiece:

The Craziness of School Quarantine


School here in LA County has reopened after the holiday break, and all talk is testing and quarantines.  The local Facebook parents group is full of parents expressing angst about the threat of their kids getting exposed to a sick kid and having to deal with the consequences and trying to find testing sites and in-home tests.

Interestingly, very little of the concern seems to be over the risk of the illness to their kids, but the risk and consequences of exposure. Parents are upset that their kids are telling them of classmates who are coming to school sick or said they tested positive but came to school anyway.  (My son’s principal says that’s just random anecdotal stuff, and not to give it too much credit.) They’re upset that their healthy kids have been exposed and now need to find a way to get tested to remain in school. Where are test sites with the shortest lines? Where can home tests be found?

Be Careful What You Wish For


My #2 son and I discovered something just now that changed our entire understanding of the Flood in Genesis. And it all has to do with how a human desire to change the world was fulfilled by G-d in a most unexpected way.

Here are the pieces: G-d curses the earth that man should suffer to extract food from it:

Breaking: SCOTUS Shoots Down Biden’s Vax Mandate


The Supreme Court on Thursday blocked President Joe Biden’s Covid vaccine mandate for businesses with 100 or more employees. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration rule, which took effect Monday, required employees to get vaccinated, or get tested weekly and wear a mask.

The court ruled 6-3 against the OSHA plan, blocking it from taking effect while other legal challenges play out.

The Omicron Variant: COVID or Common Cold?

Genetic relationship between SARS-Cov-2 variants.

Omicron variant and other major or previous variants of concern of SARS-CoV-2 depicted in a tree scaled radially by genetic distance, derived from Nextstrain on 1 December 2021 (Wikipedia)

Now that the full sequence of Omicron has become known it’s remarkable to see how different Omicron is from all the other SARS-CoV-2 variants. It did not arise as a simple mutation of the others, it’s different in several ways. It has 60 RNA mutations causing 36 amino acid changes, several in the all-important spike protein. In a radial graph of genetic distance Omicron forms its own group way off to the side of the other variants (see diagram).

Destroying Not Only Our History but Our Stories


The Left has been relentless in its efforts to distort, remove and delegitimize the history of our country. The damage to our children and to our nation is incalculable. But I realized that losing our history for future generations is much more than removing the tales of battles, founding documents, and the contributions of our Founders.

We are losing our stories and the significant role they can play in our personal lives.

When we study our history, we learn so much more than facts and figures. When we look at the Founders, we learn not only about George Washington’s bravery, but also his modesty, even his insecurity, about his lack of formal education. We come to understand the enormous barriers that Abraham Lincoln encountered that he was prepared to overcome through his commitment to his own education and accomplishments, his bouts with depression, and living with a troubled wife. Ulysses S. Grant was not only a great general, but he suffered greatly in his witnessing of those who died on both sides of the war, the Union and the South.

Hemingway: Liz Cheney Weaponizes Jan. 6 Committee Against Primary Opponent


I begin to think the Bush-Republicans are actually worse than their Rockefeller-Republican predecessors. The Rockies openly admitted their liberalism; the Bushies spout conservative rhetoric while doing everything they can to advance the Democrat agenda, and make money for themselves in the process. Wyoming Representative Liz Cheney not only eagerly signed onto Nancy Pelosi’s January 6th Inquisition, but she is now apparently leveraging the Committee’s Subpoena Power to harass her primary opponent. (From: The Federalist)

On Tuesday, the committee on which Cheney serves as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s hand-picked vice chair unveiled subpoenas for three advisers to the Trump family. Andrew Surabian and Arthur Schwartz, who’ve advised Donald Trump Jr., and Ross Worthington, who played a role in drafting President Donald Trump’s speech on Jan. 6, were each called to hand over documents and testify before the committee between Jan. 31 and Feb. 2.

Here’s a Fun Idea


New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman (not to be confused with the NYTimes columnist who wants to be Governor of Oregon because he thinks the current governor isn’t left-wing enough) thinks Biden should pick Liz Cheney as his running mate in 2024.

His rationale … I am not making this up… is because Israel is a parliamentary democracy and Orange Man Bad, and therefore, combining a president with a 28% approval rating with a vice president so consumed with hatred for the previous president that her own party has rejected her will unite the country and save democracy.

Over the Hill and Through the Woods to Mr. Churchill’s House We Go: A Disaster in 3 Parts


In our household, I’m known as the one with ‘bright ideas.’ 

Maybe I should clarify. ‘Bright ideas’ here is spoken in roughly the same tone which Bill Buckley reserved for his interactions with Gore Vidal. Somewhere between getting caught up in a riot in Paris and taking up kicking men twice my size in the head as a hobby, my parents lost some confidence in my critical thinking skills. Well, before that, maybe, but you get the picture. 

Vaccine Turnabout: Will There Be Rage and Who Will Feel It?


First: I took the two-shot Pfizer last spring. I didn’t really want to, but I have a special needs sister who had been in quarantine for months and the shots were required to restart family visits. I would have licked Tabasco off the rim of a garbage can on Bourbon Street if that was what was required to see my sister. Other than some aches and fever after the second shot, I have no identifiable vaccine issues.

Second: I had Covid during the holidays this year. Probably the “O” version, but they don’t really test for that specifically. Worse than a cold, but not as bad as the flu. I believe I am fully recovered.

‘I Can’t Go into Sources and Methods….’


There is truly an extraordinary exchange between Ted Cruz and the FBI’s Jill Sanborn in a Senate hearing. Ted Cruz repeatedly asks Miss Sanborn about Ray Epps and other possible FBI agents’ involvement promoting the January 6 riot in the Capitol.

Video shows Ray Epps, among other things, encouraging unlawful entry into the Capitol building, yet he has never been prosecuted. Why?

Dear People of Color


Dear People of Color,

We of the Democratic Party would like to thank you for your support these past several decades. Your continuing loyalty to us is extraordinarily generous and all the more so because, let’s face it, we’ve certainly never earned your trust, loyalty, or gratitude.

The King of Stuff welcomes Corey A. DeAngelis, Ph.D., an absolute bulldog fighting for educational freedom. Corey is the national director of research at the American Federation for Children, the executive director at Educational Freedom Institute, an adjunct scholar at Cato Institute, and a senior fellow at Reason Foundation. He was named on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list for his work on education policy and received the Buckley Award from America’s Future in 2020.

Jon and Corey chat about the massive gains for school choice during the Covid era, the self-destructive policies of teachers’ unions, and the political shift to allow funding to follow students. Then Jon talks about the Fauci and FBI fireworks on Capitol Hill Tuesday.

Shopping for Humanity at Food Lion


A patient of mine worked very hard, took a lot of risks, and started a business early in life that did extremely well.  He still owns it but is much less involved in the day-to-day operations now.  He pretty much retired in his mid-50s, and he now owns a home in the Caribbean, a home on a lake in a gated community near the mid-size city where his business is, and a very nice home here in Hilton Head.  He splits his time between his three homes and travels around to play golf.  He’s now in his late 60s and is a very happy and pleasant guy.  I always enjoy seeing him.  On our last visit, he told me an interesting story.  He was at his home near his business, and went out for groceries:

I always go to the Whole Foods there.  I like the stuff they have, and there’s always nice people in there.  Anyway, they didn’t have something I wanted, so I went to the Food Lion across the street.  Now again, in the Whole Foods, there were a lot of nice people, nice clothes, nice cars in the parking lot.  Everybody’s wearing masks, social distancing – I felt really comfortable in there.  But then I cross the street and park at Food Lion next to a bunch of beat up pickup trucks, everybody in there is fat, dirty, no teeth, no masks, and no social distancing.  I was uncomfortable, and I couldn’t wait to get away from that store.

I got the couple things that I needed and hustled up to the line for the cash register.  There was this short fat lady in front of me, checking out.  Long stringy hair, no makeup, not a lot of teeth.  She gives the checkout girl (who was even heavier than the lady in line) a debit card, then gets two twenties back as change, or a cash withdrawal or whatever.  She gives one of the twenties back to the checkout girl, says something, and then leaves with all her stuff.  I thought that was a little odd, but whatever.  Get me out of here – I don’t care what’s going on in this place.  None of my business.

Kristallnacht in America? Unthinkable!


Think again.

Kristallnacht, a word even those of us who know no German recognize immediately as a harbinger of real, barbaric terror. The very sound of it is to so many whose forbears suffered horribly through those days, and also to those of us who only know of its murderous rampages by study and reading, terrifying.

The Voting Rights Showdown


The second session of the 117th Congress opened with the same discord that the first session ended with. Then, the Democrats unsuccessfully sought to parlay their tiny majorities in both houses into the passage of President Biden’s flawed “Build Back Better” Plan. Now, after the first anniversary of the January 6 storming of the Capitol building by irate and unruly Trump supporters, the controversy has shifted to the Democrats’ equally ambitious, and equally flawed, voting rights reform agenda. Biden set the stage by denouncing former president Trump in extremely harsh terms:

The former president of the United States has created and spread a web of lies about the 2020 election. He’s done so because he values power over principle. Because his bruised ego matters more to him than our democracy or Constitution. He can’t accept that he lost.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has equally insisted that voting reforms are necessary to forestall any Trump repetition: as he views it, “an attempt to reverse, through violent means, the outcome of a free and fair election.” Using such blunt phrasing as “[a]n insurrection, call it what it is,” Schumer hints at a possible prelude of worse to come in the 2024 election. For Schumer, only major structural reforms will protect American democracy from this mortal threat. Since these conditions warrant dramatic action, he intends to undo the filibuster by Martin Luther King Day if Republicans continue to “hijack” Senate rules to prevent two transformative voting laws from passing.

Is Food Waste Really Your Problem?


If you’re of a certain age, especially growing up in Heartland, USA, you heard these words from a parent at the dinner table while growing up: “Clean your plate. There are starving kids in China.”

That wasn’t wrong. Millions died from starvation during Chairman Mao’s Communist cultural revolution in China during the 1960s and early ’70s. It’s a sordid tale. The “Great Leap Forward,” Mao called it. To the grave, perhaps.

The Haters Will Come for Sidney Poitier


I have been a fan of Sidney Poitier for most of my life, so I found his passing this week, at 94 years old, a poignant event. I liked him even more after watching this moving clip of an interview he gave to Lesley Stahl. Knowing that he once worked as a dishwasher deepened my appreciation of him. I’m attracted to people who haven’t always lived a pampered existence. Poitier had it rough for a while. Here he tells a beautiful story about how a waiter, who worked in the restaurant where he was washing dishes, took Poitier under his wing and taught him to read.

When Life Changed: Cancer and Agency


Many of you have heard my saga about my bout with cancer and chemotherapy; that is only marginally what this post is about. As a result of my experience, I realized that I had made a major change in my perspective about my own agency in a way I’d never known. It was partly inspired by my husband, who is a skeptic about many things but is big on taking responsibility. But I also began to realize that beyond his support, I had to, wanted to, take charge of my own medical decisions, which meant that I was taking charge of my life in a whole new way.

All along the way, there were decisions that I had to make, some easier than others. Almost immediately, I realized that because I had two tumors on my right breast, with some distance in between, it made sense to both the doctor and me to remove the whole breast. Although we agreed, it was reassuring to me that I was using my common sense to make that decision, rather than relying only on his medical training.

The next decision was whether I was going to have reconstructive surgery. I didn’t want it, and Jerry saw no reason to do it either. The surgeon tried to persuade me that I should at least schedule an appointment with the plastic surgeon. Yet I knew I didn’t want the complication of another surgery, one that could be difficult. Since the plastic surgeon was on the same floor as my breast surgeon, I walked over reluctantly to arrange a consultation with him. As I spoke to the scheduler, I said I didn’t see the point in talking to him since I didn’t want the surgery. The scheduler, a wise woman, said another woman had just come in and said the same thing and left without scheduling a consultation, and then she looked at me knowingly. We turned around and walked out. I never regretted the decision.

Biden Administration Ruthlessly Taking Advantage of the Chinese Military’s Most Obvious Weakness


In a BBC article, “Why China Could Win the Next Arms Race,” David Brown writes, “China is building up its armed forces at a rapid pace. Its advances in missile technology, nuclear weapons and artificial intelligence have triggered serious concern among many Western observers, who believe a profound shift in the global balance of military power is under way … In November, the US Department of Defense predicted China was set to quadruple its nuclear stockpile by the end of the current decade. China, it said, ‘likely intends to have at least 1,000 warheads by 2030.'”

Thankfully, the American military understands what it’s up against and is taking appropriate steps to prepare. For example, Nellis Air Force Base recently held a drag queen show. When it was criticized (by simpletons who lacked sufficient experience in military preparedness to understand such tactical decision making), the base released a statement saying that the drag queen show contributed to the “morale, cohesion, and readiness of the military,” and it’s committed to providing and championing an environment that is characterized by equal opportunity, diversity, and inclusion.

In times of crisis, when we are faced with an enemy as dangerous as China, we should be thankful for such visionary leadership. But one can’t help but wonder — is the Chinese military as powerful as it appears? After all, do you really believe that the Chinese military is sufficiently diverse to win a war with America? I think not. But while the Chinese continue to waste their time developing improved missile technology and building more nuclear weapons, we are preparing for war, building a stronger military through diversity. I just can’t believe the Chinese are so foolish and short-sighted that they continue to ignore their most obvious weakness.