Archive for February, 2011

Allowing for Adult Children

February 27, 2011

This week one of my (near adult) teenage kids asserted that I had a ‘self righteous’ attitude, especially toward the younger of the two still at home.  I have to admit that my (unwarranted) tendency toward an authoritative stance must chafe. That my attitude is unwarranted is clear: they are both in their third year of college and coming home with good grades. Still, as a parent, it’s hard to transition from “because I said so” to “It’s your decision”; especially when the item under discussion is so familiar, like when it is time to take out the trash or wash the dishes. I don’t always fully recognize just how much stress they are feeling from their own work load at school, which I agree is their proper first priority.   It’s also hard to begin to recognize when my parental guidance becomes mere meddling, when their assessments don’t quite line up with mine.

Funny how we nurture our own angst, while minimizing the troubles of others.  I suspect their ire is only the tip of the iceberg. I probably have the same effect on those who report to me at work. (At least I probably did before they were all laid off in the current economy.) My prayer is that “out of the mouth of (these) babes” I can find wisdom to become a better father, better leader, and a better man. The male ego is a troublesome entity, and often the playground of the enemy of our souls…

May God help me to be better at giving more positive reinforcement instead of fault-finding or criticism.  They really are exceptionally good kids!


Participatory Government – Citizens Speak!

February 18, 2011

Post-meeting update (earlier post simply announced the meeting)

Every week that goes by in this session of the Iowa State Legislature, I become a more ardent supporter of my representative in the Iowa House (district 39), Dawn Pettengil. She is working tirelessly (on her $25,000 salary + $137 per diem) to help reign in the runaway spending at the state level and to stay connected with her constituents. She publishes a newsletter with (near) weekly updates on the goings-on in Des Moines. In person, today (Saturday, Feb 19 2011), she hosted two coffee’s to meet with the people of Benton County.  There was one at Vinton City Hall at 10 AM and another at the Norway Public Library at 1:30 PM. She holds these meetings around the district on a regular basis.  I like to show some support at these things, and went to Norway. I get to connect with others who care about the direction their government is going, voice ideas and concerns, and hear a first hand report of items from the statehouse that occur in various committees that never make it into the news.   I encourage anyone in the district to go to these.  Attendance today in Norway was about 25, so this is a place where your ideas about the state government can truly be heard.  I’m sure if you ask, you can get on the mailing list to get notifications of these events:  also see

Now, I can’t tell you that I agree with everyone who shows up.  But people are generally polite and respectful of other’s views. If there is disagreement, our representative gets to hear the arguments of both sides.  Its the American system at work!  I genuinely appreciate Representative Pettengil’s effort to make this work the way it is supposed to, ’cause I’m really tired of the ‘hand-it-down-from-on-high’ approach that we generally see coming out of Washington.

When we go home, we know more than when we went.  If you didn’t go, we know more than you, and we are better prepared to effect the government we want.  I can’t think of a better use for a couple of hours on a Saturday afternoon.  It’s not like we were freezing at Valley Forge or laboring with the Patriots since, who helped buy this right for us.


Taxes for Cybersecurity

February 10, 2011

The federal government is working overtime to insert itself into a position of control of the Internet. The latest installment is a bill being introduced by Senator Robert Menendez (R-NJ). “The bipartisan Cybersecurity Enhancement Act would fund more cybersecurity research, awareness and education”, he says in a new press release.

In my opinion, that sucking sound we hear is our tax dollars going to put the latest victim of the Wiki-Leaks fiasco in charge of Internet security.
Furthermore, I’m worried about the prospect of having a government-controlled “kill switch” on the Internet. I know the stated purpose is security. Isn’t is always? But as a blogger, I consider net a primary medium in which to exercise my free speech rights. Franky, I think the powers-that-be are just worried about the discourse in which we are freely engaged.

The Obama Economy

February 6, 2011

I’m not too impressed with the Obama economy. The company that I work for has (apparently) enough cash to pay me until the end of February. I have been laid off twice in the last quarter. Though I have been called back, both times, the rest of the engineering department has not. My current task is to inventory the technical assets, in preparation of closing the doors. There is a financing opportunity in the works, but it looks like a long shot to me.

I wouldn’t feel so bad about it if I could point to any fault on my part. But honestly, I have come through with flying colors on each and every engineering assignment. The current demise is just not my fault. We have working prototype hardware, but no viable business plan. In better times, the fact that the technology (I helped to develop) blows the doors off of the competition might have been enough to get new investors interested. But not in this environment.

What has the Obama machine targeted? Massive increases in staffing of government jobs. Do those help my situation? No they just add to the drain on the private sector. Do the new regulations written and or enforced by all those public sector employees help? No, they just make investors wait for a more opportune time. There is a huge stockpile of idle investment cash in the economy, but no investor in his right mind will risk it in the current government-controlled environment. 2012 can’t come soon enough for me!

The saving grace for me comes from a Bible verse that has been on my mind lately:  I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.  Psalms 27:13 NIV

Digging Out

February 2, 2011

If you scroll down the right side of the post, you will find a few photo’s from flickr that I took today after digging out of the drifts that mounted over night here in eastern Iowa (click on  photo to access the photo stream, look at newer).  I have a large driveway and own a plow truck to keep it passable.  Today, the stuff was so heavy the 1/2 ton truck couldn’t move the drifts.  I spent most of the day moving the drifts with a shovel.  Makes me really prone to scoff at the global warming crowd!