Let the Gerrymandering Begin!

Well, not quite.

It shouldn’t be surprising that the GOP had a lot of soul searching to do after giving up a second term to the ‘crazy liberal’ that they fear. Two presidential elections won decisively by Obama has led the GOP to take drastic steps to save face.

Next on the agenda: Virginia.

That’s right, Virginia.

Virginia is among several Conservative states looking to modify their electorate by splitting electoral votes based on judicial districts won. The thinking is that instead of giving 13 electoral votes to a democrat victor (such as the case of Obama in Virginia), we’ll give him 4 of 11 based on the congressional districts Obama won. That means Romney would have earned 7 electoral votes in a state he lost the popular vote.

It is common for a state to redistrict areas in order to maximize their party’s influence (Gerrymandering); both parties are guilty of it, so let the Gerrymandering continue! ::cough:: sore losers…


Women, Be Careful What You Wish For

A great story broke today. Coverage of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s hearing about the terrorist attack in Libya has pushed the most exciting news story that came out today: today is the day the Pentagon ends the ban on women in combat.

As a self-proclaimed feminist, I can say I’m proud to be an American as our military begins to prepare for women to be in equal and similar positions as men. When it is official in 2015, women may still be excluded from certain operations or positions; however, this is a big step towards the ever elusive equal rights that minorities and women seem to near, but never reach.

There still exists a difference in pay between men and women in comparable employment. Stereotypes and sexism still exist, while sexual harassment and rape continues to be a controlling tool in many parts of our society. The United States is still far from being truly equal and free.

In 2013, we can now say that we are another step closer to changing this.

Our society isn’t perfect. Our economical and cultural standards may never truly grasp the idea of true equality, but we are getting closer and closer to perfecting true ‘equal opportunity.’

“Equal opportunity’ brings on even greater responsibility. As the years continue with new opportunities in the military for women, the conversation will come up on draft eligibility. I am against the draft. It deteriorates the quality of our military and should be unnecessary in a democratic society that makes wartime decisions based on a vote. If it were up to me, the draft would be dissolved…

…but it’s not up to me.

I hope that this move in equality isn’t used to expand the draft. A volunteer army is more efficient and effective on the battlefield. Let us find better ways in the future to prepare our citizens for war so these circumstances may never arrise.

Women equality in the military isn’t as big as earning the ability to vote, but it is this centuries biggest move towards true ‘equal opportunity.’

Amada the Beautiful

I’m not much of a foodie, but the Spanish tapas were delightful. Amada offers a wide variety of Spanish appetizers that satisfy even a picky eater such as myself.

My favorite dish was their Croquetas de Jamon, which was a light appetizer consisting of a warm blend of ham and cheese that was lightly breaded. It didn’t take our party of four long to clean this plate.

As soon as the croquetas were finished, more appetizers appeared. It didn’t take long for our party to clear the table. Next came dinner.

The main course (if you can call it that) that I enjoyed most was their beef flatbread: Costillas de Ternera Coca. It was a short rib flatbread with horseradish, parmesan, and bacon. The horseradish concerned me, so I ordered it on the side. To my amazement, it wasn’t as potent as expected and paired nicely with the short rib.

This was my first true adventure into Spanish cuisine. I’ve never been drawn to the Mediterranean taste of Greek or certain Italian foods, but the appetizers served in Amada have peaked my interest. I look forward to adventuring into some more risqué Mediterranean options in the future.

Friday is the last day of Restaurant Week in Philadelphia. If you get a chance to sample the great restaurants in the area, consider Amada for a unique Spanish Cuisine taste.

Spy-gate and the Death of Belichick’s Super Bowl Record

Congratulations to the Baltimore Ravens for their convincing victory over the Pats on Sunday. I was expecting a Pats-‘9ers Super Bowl, but instead we have the Har-Bowl. We’ll take it. The Ravens and ‘9ers should be an interesting match on its own pitting two brothers, two good defenses, and two explosive offenses against each other.

What is most puzzling is the Pats ability to fail in winning or reaching the Super Bowl the last several years with their finest rosters to date. In fact, the Pats haven’t won a Super Bowl since Spy-gate was uncovered in 2007.

This isn’t a coincidence.

The NFL is filled with great talent. Most teams (if not all) are competitive on any given Sunday. What separates the greats from the mediocre falls on coaching, a consistent and steady ownership/general manager, and some luck.

The Pat’s may have been successful in gaining an edge through ‘spying,’ even if other teams are guilty of it as well. It is not unreasonable to think that a great mind such as Belichick’s can uncover more from spying then a different coach with the same information. This spy technique may explain how his past less talented teams won three Super Bowls, while his latest few with a better roster (including one team that went undefeated in the regular season) couldn’t win the big game.

There is no doubt that Belichick is a great coach. He has made a dynasty out of a franchise that wasn’t known for being a dominate foe, yet the last six years we’ve seen the best teams continue to fail in the post season.

Bad Karma is well deserved for the Pat’s. So here is to the ‘9ers trying to overcome Ray Lewis and the Roulette Raven’s (you never know which team will show up).

I’m still rooting for Colin Kaepernick, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the Raven’s pull this one off.

I pick the Ravens, 35-28.

I found this post helpful on a business level as well as on a personal level.

The Dirty Birds… One and Done

The Falcons offensive juggernaut launched to another big lead (17-0), but let their opponent catch back up. Out of pure determination, the Dirty Birds overcame the ‘Hawks comeback last week. Not this time. The ‘9ers are keeping half of my Super Bowl prediction alive; the Pats are keeping their part leading the Ravens 10-7 with four minutes left the second.

I have no doubt the Pats will finish this game successful. At this point I’m thinking about some juicy grade C flicks like Hansel & Gretel and Identity Theft.

Meanwhile, Restaurant Week is reaching a climax tonight. I’ll be joining in on some good eats. Within the next 24 hours, expect some updates on Amada, the Pats’ game, and anything exciting that crosses my path.

Obama’s Limo Declares Revolution, Teaching in Business, and Snuggles, the Movie

Obama’s Limos Declare ‘No Taxation without Representation!’

In an odd twist of fate, President Obama’s Motorcade will include license plates declaring the popular Pre-Revolutionary War declaration of ‘no taxation without representation.’  Due to D.C.’s adoption of this phrase on their plate, there are no state issued plates that lack this phrase.

Washington D.C. was prevented from having any representation in order to keep the political city neutral, yet its citizens now cry for representation as well as possible statehood.

Imagine the campaign trail leading to win D.C.’s electoral votes.

“Not only are we going to New Hampshire, Tom Harkin, we’re going to South Carolina and Oklahoma and Arizona and North Dakota and New Mexico, and we’re going to California and Texas and New York And we’re going to South Dakota and Oregon and Washington and Michigan, and Washington D.C., oh yeah, and then we’ll go back to Washington, D.C., to take back the White House!  We’ll win it twice!  Yeah!!!!!”

Poor Howard Dean was nearly a decade too early for this great speech to become a reality…

…at least if D.C. and Puerto Rico become states, we can have four more senators to not want to compromise.  Sheesh



Presenting Utilizing Multiple Approaches

Whether you’re teaching Kindergarten musicians or mid-aged call center agents, it is important to vary your approaches in order to accomplish your goal: a well-rounded pupil.

The square peg always fits in the square hole, but that lesson no longer matters once you’ve learned it.  The brain has moved on.  In a corporate environment, it is essential to keep presenting and representing the simple truths in different ways to keep the team’s focus on constantly improving without taking too big of a step backwards.

My experience teaching music to young learners ages 5 through 12 opened my eyes to a multiple approaches method.  In other words, the same lesson is given in different ways.  Human beings learn in a multitude of ways. It is essential to utilize visual, aesthetic, kinesthetic, etc. methods in order to reinforce key concepts.  Presenting and representing differently allows the same concepts to be reinforced while evolving the method used to create an atmosphere of being new or different.

In the business world, it is as simple as extremely focusing on statistics in the work force.  After over killing it for a month or two, switch gears to focus on certain aspects of their job such as their presentation, or how they handle calls.

Statistics are a measurable outcome that can show a trend of operating efficiently and effectively.  This approach can measure if an agent is efficient, or sloppy.  Looking at statistics is a quick way to see if the team is operating correctly (assuming that if their numbers meet company goals, that the agent is in return accomplishing company expectations).

Score cards, or job reviews establish if the product the agent is completing is up to company standard.  Statistics can’t measure this as easily as physically observing the agent’s work.  After focusing on the agent’s understanding of meeting company statistical goals, switching to focusing on product performance allows the agent to live up to the new statistical expectations that have been set.

In the end, you get a team working within the company lines and putting out an improved product.  Once the focus has swayed to score cards, it’s time to switch to another method (possibly back to statistics).

When reviewing how your company approaches team improvement, find ways to break down the driving forces of team development that is appropriate to your business, and utilize them to focus on one or two aspects at a time, then switch to a completely different aspect that reinforces the original aspect you focused on.

Snuggles (2013)

Snuggles decides to be Mark Wahlberg’s stoner roommate/best friend in ‘Ted.’  In a movie-paced Family Guy episode, there are more references to Seth MacFarlane’s rowdy cartoon characters than a true focus on the plot: an outcast teen finds companionship in a teddy bear, grows confidence to meet a beautiful and undeserved woman by the time he’s middle-aged, and then realizes he has to lose the teddy bear to actually grow up and keep said woman.

Wahlberg does just that.  He grows up just in time to want his teddy back.  Needless to say, he regresses at the finale in the movie when Mila Kunis decides it’s ok for her fiancé and her to live with this stoner for the rest of their life.

It’s not Wahlberg’s best, and it’s certainly not his worst.  If you’re a Family Guy fan, this one’s for you.

Sorry about the spoiler.