The Starfish and the Spider

February 28th, 2010 at 4:43 pm

“The Unstoppable Power of Leaderless Organizations”


Consider this a companion piece to The Long Tail.

The influence and potential for decentralization in the modern world is palpable, from the Internet to terrorist networks. And thus, the metaphor: cut the head off of a centralized power and it dies (spider), but cut the arm off of a decentralized power and it mutates into several powers (starfish).

With only one caveat: the authors spend much time describing how superior Toyota and its decentralized operational structure is to GM’s centralized approach.

I suppose that decentralization is so great that you cannot put the brakes on it.

Hot Sarah Palin Tale

February 27th, 2010 at 3:48 pm

Let us listen in as Sarah Palin regales us with an evocative description of her view from the governor’s office in Anchorage:

“From one window I could see an active volcano, and from another window, Mount McKinley. We overlook Cook inlet, abundant with sea life, including salmon, halibut, and beluga whales, all safely coexisting with offshore oil rigs for the last thirty years.”

And now for her take on evolution:

“I believed in the evidence for microevolution – that geologic and species change occurs incrementally over time. But I didn’t believe in the theory that human beings – thinking, loving beings – originated from fish that sprouted legs and crawled out of the sea. Or that human beings began as single-celled organisms that developed into monkeys who eventually swung down from the trees; I believed we came about through a random process, but were created by God.”

Tell me, how can you believe an entity exists, thrives, adapts, and changes by a certain set of processes, but not believe that said entity was created or came into existence because of those same processes?

And isn’t it clever how she related such intimate, personal beliefs by recalling what she confirmed during her vice presidential vetting process? In order to disseminate her words verbatim, I’m forced to do so in the past tense.

Clever girl.

Sarah Palin Goes Commando with Rick Warren

February 24th, 2010 at 1:49 pm

Sarah Palin spends a significant amount of time in Going Rogue bemoaning the misleading manipulation perpetrated against her by the media.

It’s difficult to resist such tactics when she gives us these gems:

“One morning, I was showering when Bexie knocked on the door. ‘Rick Warren’s on the phone again,’ she called out. ‘He’s been trying to track you down and has called twice.’

“She handed me the phone in the shower, and I turned off the water so it wouldn’t be so obvious where I was standing. The well-known author and pastor shared some encouraging words, then offered to pray right then for strength during the campaign. I said, absolutely! Pray away! I would never turn down prayer even with limited hours in a campaign day, standing in a few inches of water with a shower curtain for a wardrobe. You do what you’ve got to do.”

Absolutely! Pray away!

Glass Blowing Apprentice?

February 23rd, 2010 at 9:32 pm

I was reading the caption on American Idol the other night and it said that the contestant onscreen was a Glass Blowing Apprentice.

Glass Blowing Apprentice?

Is that slang for fluffer?

Her teeth are pretty janky.

At least it’s good to know that the trades are still alive and well.


Saring Palgue

February 22nd, 2010 at 8:13 pm

Though I am not quite finished, I have formulated several different opinions about Sarah Palin while reading Going Rogue.

One is this: I like Sarah Palin.

But I also judge people by the company they keep and Sarah Palin was too quickly co-opted by the Republican machine. She would have been much better off had she chosen to serve our country as a leader like Ralph Nader or Ron Paul. Maybe it’s not too late.

Another snap judgment: Sarah Palin is naive. Hopefully, was. She reacts to every negative experience with shock and disappointment. Again, I like Sarah Palin. She is gritty and real. She is experienced and successful. She is practical and endearing. But what kind of magical world is Alaska? Do the bears snuggle with the salmon? Do oilmen scrub themselves clean after a hard day’s work with the exfoliating effervescence of North Slope clouds?

Yes, politics is dirty. There is media distortion. Special interest spin. Government lies. People are selfish. There is abuse, collusion, and manipulation. Going Rogue grows quite tiresome as Sarah Palin spends paragraph after paragraph expressing passive-aggressive surprise at the culture around her but acknowledging none of the valid inquiry into her own behavior.

And then there are the parts in Going Rogue that make it even easier to dislike Sarah Palin:

“In Alaska, we view change a bit differently. For example, wildfires in the Lower 48 are often treated as natural disasters. Up here, we often let them burn, knowing that from fire-blackened lands new growth will spring.”

You’ll have to excuse us, Sarah, but yes, we pretentious, out-of-touch, pinko-commie-hippies down here in the Lower 48 prefer to have our fires extinguished. Because we have something down here that we don’t want to burn:


It’s where we keep our stuff.

Peculiarly Palin

February 20th, 2010 at 2:18 pm

I am encountering many bizarre and amusing things about Sarah Palin by reading her book Going Rogue.

For instance, she eloped. She and Todd even had to “recruit” seniors from the old folk’s home across the street to be their witnesses, focusing on those in wheelchairs who could be easily transported to the courthouse.

And the reason she named her son Tad? Because it is a combination of her husband, Todd, and her other son, Track. But is Tad a combination of Todd and Track? Wouldn’t that be Tradd? Or Tock? Certainly not Tad…

But some anecdotes are more misleading and disheartening than taking liberties with language conflation or taking advantage of the elderly.

Recalling her run for Alaska Governor, Palin recalls, “Every part of our campaign shouted ‘Change!’…A change from emphasizing politics to emphasizing people. A change from smooth talk to straight talk – even then.

“We were amused a couple of years later when Barack Obama – one of whose senior advisers (come to think of it) had roots in Alaska – adopted the same theme. Kris and I joked about it; ‘Hey! We were change when change wasn’t cool!’”

Please dear readers, correct me if I am wrong, but wasn’t it the McCain campaign that utilized the theme “Straight Talk Express?”

How could Sarah Palin confuse such a thing? It was her campaign!

Palin harbors a significant grudge about the c-word. Relating her experience immediately after the announcement of her joining the McCain ticket she explains, “It struck me as ironic that the Obama campaign had captured the theme of change. I’d always run on a platform of change, and I quickly wondered how I could start interjecting that ‘We were change when change wasn’t cool’ theme.”

It strikes me as ironic that Palin is so bitter about Change. Sore loser? Change is politics 101, right up there with being against crime and pro-children.

Getting Stoned With Sarah Palin

February 18th, 2010 at 9:53 pm

So I’ve been reading “Going Rogue” so you don’t have to.

About a quarter in, Palin shares her thought process in deciding if to run for Governor of Alaska. At one point she seeks counsel from a friend, Rich Halford, a quiet and deeply thoughtful former State Senate president and quintessential Alaskan: an outdoorsman and private pilot.

What advice does such a deeply thoughtful outdoorsy Senator give to the nascent Palin?

He asks her, “Do you remember the story of David and the five stones?”

“You have the five stones. You have the right positions on ethics, on energy, on government’s appropriate role. It’s an out-of-the-box idea and you won’t get the establishment support, but I think you should run for governor. Our state is ready for change.”

For those keeping track at home, the five stones are:

1. Ethics
2. Energy
3. Government’s appropriate roll

Key Bumps with Sarah Palin

February 15th, 2010 at 8:04 pm

Since so few of you will actually read this book, but I know that you want to, this from Chapter 3-Drill, Baby, Drill:

“I stuck my head out the window of my black Jetta and shifted into fifth after cresting Thompson Pass. It was winter 2005. The girls were finally asleep, and I needed another gulp of ten-below-zero air to keep from joining them. I fumbled with the CD changer, loaded the kids’ Toby Keith, and cranked up “How Do You Like Me Now?!”
“It was the middle of the night, and I had just emptied my last sugar-free Red Bull. I was already second-guessing my decision to drive…”

George W. Bush would have gone ahead and just snorted a line of cocaine off the dashboard.

THAT’S a Maverick!

Quit being so dramatic, Sarah.

This brash, reckless behavior as recounted and thusly admitted by Sarah Palin in her memoir is further proof of her habitual salvia use. Unreliable sources state that Palin has chronically chewed salvia since she resigned as chairman of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (AOGCC) in 2004 after only 1 year at her post.

It is only a matter of time before Sarah’s sordid addiction causes her to run for, obtain, and then after a short time step down from, a more important elected office.