The Blame Game


You might have heard by now that the American Health Care Act, President Trump’s signature promise to repeal the Obamacare, is dead.  The Republican Party did not have enough votes to ensure its passage, so the bill was pulled from a scheduled vote yesterday.

Yes, this is a embarrassing defeat for the President, the Republican Party, etc.  But instead of reflecting on what was the cause for the defeat, the president blamed the Democrats for the bill’s failure. “They [Democrats] weren’t going to give us a single vote,” the president complained.

Blaming the Democrats sounds as ludicrous as a five year old would have said.  If the president did not reach out to the Democrats, why would they give him any votes? And for sure, any chance for the two parties working together to fix the Obamacare is shot.

Politics, the art of the possible, requires compromises.  May be the Republican Party holding majorities in the House and the Senate feel no need to compromise. The reality speaks differently.  Perhaps they will see the error in their ways for the sake of the country.

Where is a leader when you needed one?

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Pleasures In Ordinary Life


Just the other day was my wife’s birthday.  We went eating out, watched a movie, and was going to go bowling afterwards but decided against our overindulgence.

Watching movie, going bowling, eating out are all common events in ordinary life. Nothing particularly special, really. But for us, the pleasure comes from our sharing time together, developing common experiences, and rediscovering each other.

These ordinary life events used to occur with greater frequency before we had children. Things were put on hold while we took care of our kids.  Life was a bit hectic between working and raising children.  Weekends were the respites before the cycle repeated on Mondays.

Now kids are grown, we have retired.  Once again we are rediscovering the pleasures in these ordinary life events.  It is like the old days except with a bit moderation.

Where do you find pleasures in the ordinary life?


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Political Calculations

“Do we have the votes?” is a big part of the political culture.  After-all votes matter.  Because without the votes, bills, including the budget, don’t get passed.  And lots of people get impacted.

Democracy dictates the courses of persuasion & consensus building.  But in the end, it is the number of votes, politicians focus on. As elected representatives, they need the votes for re-election, passing bills, or whatever their constituents elected them to do.

It is a political calculation that no politicians can afford to ignore.

Question then becomes where do principles stand? By principles I mean moral judgement, right versus wrong, etc.  Do they take a backseat to the horsetrading of votes?  If a conflict arises, how do politicians reconcile their differences?

Imaging these behind the closed-door conversations:

How about if you vote my bill, I will vote for yours?  

How will my approval rating be affected if I vote in such way?

How much is it worth?

All part of the political calculations.

How much political calculations happen at work or at home? What evaluation criteria drive your decision?

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The Plot Thickens . . .

James Comey, the FBI Director, announced on Monday the Bureau’s investigation into “any links between any individuals associated with Trump campaign and the Russian government and whether there was any coordination between the campaign and Russia’s efforts.”

Comey as you may recall torpedo’d Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign last year with investigations into her private email scandals. It not only drew scrutiny over Clinton’s conducts while serving as the Secretary of State but also her ethical character. Now the cross-hair is trained on President Trump.

This early (two month) administration has been mired in accusations and counter strikes. At center of the controversies is none other than President Trump himself.  He fuels the innuendos by tweeting baseless claims or threats to whomever he perceives as damaging to him.

The hero, the villain, and the support cast? Stay tune as the plot thickens. It bounds to get more interesting as the story unfolds.  Real life drama in Washington.

How independent can the FBI be in its investigation? Do you think it’s wasting taxpayer’s money or serving justice?

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Looking Both Ways


When approaching an intersection, would you look only at one way before crossing?

Hope not.

Prudence would suggest looking both ways.  Even if the traffic is one-way. Good to check it is clear in both directions, just in case. You never know.

Same is true with many life circumstances.  Few things in life are absolute. Often there are two sides to the same coin.  Looking both ways enables one to keep an open mind and balanced perspective.

Take President Trump for instance.  Doesn’t matter if you voted for him or not, does not matter how you feel about he is performing on the job, doesn’t matter how much the media bash him, look both ways.

Unless you know with absolute certainty, you may be surprised.

How difficult is it to keep an open mind?  What tips would you share?


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Pretend Listening


You asked me to listen, but I did not hear.

I was there physically, but escaping mentally.

For me – not fully present.

For you – not fully satisfied, I am sure.

I could blame on my mind playing tricks, but

it was actually me guilty of pretend listening.

Remember the last time you pretended to listen? What was the circumstance and why? How acceptable was it? to you? to the others?


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Week In Review – 19 Mar 2017

Approaching end of winter, hard pressed to say that I am going to be sad when it is over. The snow around the neighborhood is melting.  And I can’t wait to shake off my heavy gears and enjoy the outdoors again.

By the way, our Greece photos have been uploaded to Youtube.  All credits go to my wife who is the photographer/ artist.  It is her passion and vision for creating the memory.  I get to enjoy and share those precious moments.

Speak of passion, President Trump has been in the White House now for over 50 days. While many controversies on his policies and orders have been floated in media, his performance has actually been on par with his predecessors.

Many people worry about the new President insofar as where he is taking the country. I recommend to take a chill pill and use the time instead for some needed maintenance.  If must, there are innovations like the Fourth Industrial Revolution one can focus on.  Let the President do his job. Isn’t that what we elected him for?

Have a great week.

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4IR – Are You Ready For It?

“4IR” stands for the the Fourth Industrial Revolution.  If you were like me, it will be something new and yet it’s happening around us.    The promise is both exciting and unnerving.  I suppose that is the nature of any changes, let alone a revolution.

It is mind boggling.  Lots of foods for thoughts.  More details? click here.

How would you transition to the 4IR?

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Upkeep Anyone?

Picture this – you jump into the car but it won’t start?  The gas tank is empty.  Or, switch the car scenario with others like cell phone, running marathon, or whatever.  The idea is the same – can’t run on empty.

From the Aesop’s Fables of the goose laying the golden eggs, if one wants more golden eggs, better take care the goose.  In other words, while we all want to enjoy the end outcome, can’t get there without investing in the means.  No if or buts!

Without maintenance, the gas will run out, tires will become flat, and goose will die. Of course that nothing lasts forever.  But proper maintenance will make them last longer.  By the way, maintenance also means upkeep, renewal, investing, and similar.

While it’s intuitive that battery needs to be re-/charged for the mobile phone to work, less popular are the the daily life items that require the same upkeep. Items like our health, relationship, and practice are often forsaken for the quick fixes.

Who has time for watering the plants? mowing the lawn? cooking the meals? The answer is you do if you want them as your outcomes.  Part of the maintenance and upkeep of feeding the goose.

What are your renewal or upkeep strategies?

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Don’t Worry?

“Don’t worry,” I tell myself, but it only makes me worry more. It is like saying don’t think the color Green.  Whether you want to or not, the color Green becomes part of your subconscious. Can’t get rid of it.

“Maybe,” I rationalize after realizing the inevitable, worrying can help me mentally prepare, rehearse, and be more ready.  Wouldn’t that be nice?  I am being productive through worrying.

Deep down, I know that is not true.  The energy wasted on worrying exacts a toll. It takes my attention away from the present, whatever I should be focusing on.  And the remote possibility of events turning out as I have mentally construed is next to nil.

So besides pitying myself, what can I do? Below are three foods for thought:

  1. Staying in the present – focus on the here and now.  So to fend off worrying about something in the future, especially something that I can’t do anything about like whether it will snow next week.
  2. Planning ahead – schedule important events well in advance to allow time for preparation.  This way I avert last minute crunch or incurring opportunity costs (e.g. no room for contingencies).
  3.  Taking decisive action – move with a sense of purpose. It gives direction and allows efficient execution.  Even in uncertainty, motion can create emotion such as confidence. It helps to ward off worrying.

How do you deal with worrying?

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