A Wake Up Call for Me Too

I am shocked and embarrassed by the number of “Me Too” postings I saw from my female friends and family on FB yesterday. Not because I’ve ever come even close to being a perpetrator of such behavior – I have not, but because I clearly share a gender with many men who have. I suspect it’s even happened around me, without my knowledge. If I knew about it, I assure you, I would do something about it. It’s not OK. Not by a long shot. I’ll be more vigilant in looking out for it now, no question.

But, I also can’t help but write about something else that’s gnawing at my gut in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal. Why were so many liberals, men and women, complicit enablers of this heinous man’s behavior? It seems that it’s OK to be an abuser as long as you give lots of money to Democrats. When Donald Trump’s egregious p***y grabbing comment came to light, the full weight of the liberal universe came down on him, especially those in the mainstream media. But, basically the entire liberal Hollywood establishment and media turned a blind eye to Weinstein’s behavior for decades until someone finally spoke out and it could no longer be ignored. Jane Fonda said she knew at least a year ago; I’m betting longer. You will not convince me that Jane Fonda needed Weinstein for her next part.  Screenwriter, actor and producer Scott Rosenberg posted to FB that “everybody fucking knew.” Comedian Seth McFarlane knew. Courtney Love knew. Matt Damon knew. I’m sure lots more knew. Fucking everybody knew.

I understand that many of the female victims may have felt powerless to do or say anything publicly. Perhaps the men too. But, are you really going to tell me that no news outlet ever got wind of this until the NYT was finally forced to publish it (and kudos to them for a better late than never story)? Everybody fucking knew, but nobody reported it? Nobody whispered anything to anyone in the press anywhere? That strains credulity to its breaking point. Might it be more than just fear of not getting the next movie part? Might it be liberals in the media protecting their own in a way they would never do for a high-profile, big money, conservative man. Hard to believe. Does anyone have any doubt that if one of the Koch brothers had engaged in such dreadful behavior, it would have been reported many years ago.

Smart people always follow the money and Harvey Weinstein donated at least $2.5 million to democrats and liberal causes just since 2000. It seems highly unlikely that any of the recipients of that money, nor their protectors in the liberal media, were ever going to blow the whistle on Weinstein while that spigot was turned on. Indeed, it took Hillary Clinton 5 days to even denounce Weinstein publicly after the story finally broke. You don’t think those 5 days were spent analyzing the financial impact of speaking out publicly. Barack and Michelle Obama denounced on the same time schedule. What might be the impact on Michelle’s campaign coffers when she runs some day? Donald Trump was lambasted in the media for waiting 24 hours to denounce the events in Charlottesville. Double standard much?

To come full circle, I want to be clear that I am not minimizing the heinous nature of Weinstein’s crimes. He should be punished, as should all men who behave this way, with the full weight of the law. Furthermore, I feel a need to apologize, not for myself, but for my gender, to all the women who posted “Me too” yesterday. I cannot possibly imagine how horrible that must be. But, I hope there’s a lesson here that evil knows no political boundaries and should be called out immediately, no matter the political party or implications for financial contributions.

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Fire Dusty Baker

In his column in this morning’s Washington Post, Tom Boswell wrote that the fine print on the back of every MLB ticket says, “The bearer of this ticket is permitted to second-guess either or both of the managers. If he or she does not exercise this prerogative, the commissioner reserves the right to refuse permission to attend any future major league games.” OK, it doesn’t say that, but it should. And, I plan to exercise that prerogative raised to the Nth power with respect to Washington Nationals’ Manager, Dusty Baker’s, horrendous decision making against the Cubs in game 4 of the NLDS last night.

Start with the facts. He had one very simple decision to make in the 7th inning. Counting Spring Training, the Nationals were playing their 199th baseball game of 2017. One game shy of 200 baseball games, he was betting the entire season and quite possibly his job. He had two choices. He could push all in on Max Scherzer, the likely Cy Young winner for the second year in a row who, by the way, was throwing a gem of a 1-hitter and was at only 98 pitches. Or, he could bet it on some dude named Sammy Solis, who brought a 5.88 ERA into the post-season. Scherzer or Solis? Hmmmm. Think, Pooh, think. Cy Young or 5.88 ERA. God, this job is so fucking hard. Someone help me here.

Except nobody did. Like Trump’s finger reaching for the send button in Twitter, Dusty reached his left arm in the air in what counts as the worst decision in post-season baseball history. Well, at least since former Nats Manager Matt Williams pulled Jordan Zimmermann from the 2012 NLDS, one out away from the first post-season complete game shutout in DC since 1933. But, I digress. Dusty bet on Solis and we know what happened. Is it possible that Scherzer would have given up a bomb to Kyle Schwarber, atoning for his three-base error that gave the Nats the lead in the first place? Maybe, but so what? You go with your best.

As I turned this dreadful decision over and over in my mind, I tried to think of some analogy in my career. Some point where I had to make a big decision and what it might have looked like if I were as inept as Dusty. My job as a venture capitalist is to invest in companies, sit on their boards to help them grow, and then sell them to a larger company to make a return on my capital (slight oversimplification, but you get the point).

Suppose I was in a situation where one of my portfolio companies was in discussions with a Fortune 100 company to be acquired for $1 billion. The CEO of the Fortune 100 said he wanted to meet with our management to seal the deal. The board met to decide who to send to the meeting and we had two choices, either the 29 year old Director of Business Development, a smart kid and recent Harvard Business School grad, but a guy who had yet to close his first deal. Or, we could send the CEO of the company, an experienced 57 year old executive who had sold 4 companies, one of them to this same buyer. He knew the buyer’s CEO from this prior transaction as well, and the two of them were also social friends. If I had voted to send the young Director of Business Development to negotiate the deal, I would be performing at Dusty Baker’s level. And, I should be fired. He should be too. Like before tonight’s game.

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Liberal Hypocrisy, Part VIII (Redskins vs. the Military)

I thought long and hard about whether this is really Part VIII in my liberal hypocrisy series or just a continuation of Part VII on free speech. I decided to open a new chapter! My buddy Steve made a comment on FB when I posted my second blog on free speech (here) that was perhaps the most salient analysis I’ve read yet on the liberal mindset when it comes to these inane NFL protests. Steve wrote:

I think it is important to point out that the NFL kneelers contend, by and large, that they do not intend to disrespect our servicemen, our country, or our flag. The problem with that position is that a very large cohort of these people are telling them that they are very offended. Most of us who grow up in this country learn not to use certain words or take certain actions because our fellow countrymen find them offensive. So we don’t use the N word, the C word, or draw swastikas. We say Asian instead of Oriental. On the other hand, the kneelers are taking an action that they know offends a great many people in this country. In fact, they seem to revel in it. That they are taking this action in the face of a legion of volunteer servicemen, some of whom will give their lives in service, is simply unforgiveable. I wish they would take the time to read the words of our National Anthem. It is about how a group of brave Americans sacrificed their lives in the face of insurmountable odds to keep our flag standing and our fort secure. I can only surmise that these cowards cannot relate to such bravery. That said, they should have a duty to respect it.

For context, Steve comes from a military family and his youngest son has already committed to attend the Naval Academy. I have also heard the same thing he’s heard from military folks – they are deeply offended by these protests.

Now, since we’re talking about football, let’s turn our attention to my home team, the Washington Redskins or, as liberals call them, the Washington Football Team. Yes, that’s right, liberals can’t even bring themselves to say “Redskins” because it is so offensive to Native Americans. Well, except that it isn’t. Even the radical left wing Washington Post found that 90% of Native Americans are NOT offended by the Redskins’ name (here). Holy shit, there’s nothing that 90% of any group of people ever agree on. And, shockingly, if there’s any publication in the world that was motivated to find that 100% of Native Americans were offended, it is the Washington Post. Their editors must have been apoplectic when these results came in. And, yet, many of the sports writers at the Post still won’t print the name “Redskins.”

When I point out to my liberal non-Redskin-saying friends that 90% of actual real live Native Americans don’t give a shit about our team name, they’ll often reply with something like, “Well, that means 10% are offended and if any of them are offended, it’s not OK.” Interesting position. It’s not one I agree with as it’s likely that someone will be offended by pretty much anything, but let’s just suppose that liberals were allowed to set the bar on what’s OK and what’s not OK when it comes to offensive speech and they seem to have opted for the 10% rule when it comes to the Redskins. Shouldn’t we then apply the 10% rule to our military veterans and active duty service men and women when it comes to being offended by the NFL protests? Apparently not.

In the eyes of the hypocritical left, the Redskins must be forced to change their team name because a tiny minority of Native Americans are offended. That kind of free speech/expression is unacceptable and must be stopped immediately, if not sooner. However, the NFL kneeling protests, which offend (I’m guessing) about 90% of military folks, are just totally acceptable free speech and should be respected if not lauded.

Seriously, people, I know I sound like a broken record, but the hypocrisy from the left just can’t get any worse, except I know it will. And, when it does, I promise to write about it in my future blog, “Liberal Hypocrisy, Part IX.”

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Free Speech, Part Deux

Earlier this week I posted a blog (here) on the hypocrisy of the left as they scream for the rights of free speech and expression of irreverent NFL players, as those players offend the sensibilities of our military and everyone else who has fought for the rights they take for granted, while simultaneously stifling all other speech that they don’t like.

I got some feedback, which I’ve gotten before, that I paint liberals too broadly and individual liberals will say things like, “Hey, wait, I believe in free speech and so do all my liberal friends.” But, I think there’s some lack of self-awareness among many liberals when they say that.

The liberal assault on free speech has been very broad and taken many forms and the feedback I get suggests they are not even aware they’re doing it. The crap going on at colleges and universities to stop free speech is overt and egregious. But, that’s the easy stuff to both point out and for liberals to say, “Yeah, I think that’s really egregious too.”

It’s the more subtle squelching of free speech by coercion, intimidation, name calling, and social ostracizing that scares me more. For example, about 10 or 15 years ago it was accepted by nearly everyone in this country that marriage was between a man and a woman. Both of the last two democratic presidential candidates (Obama and H. Clinton) held that view and it was one that had been held for the entirety of our nation’s existence. Now, just 10-15 short years later, if I were to make that statement, I would be immediately labeled a hater and homophobe by liberals. Nobody likes to be name called or labeled so one tends to not talk. Free speech is stifled.

If I were to point out that African Americans commit violent crimes at 6x the rate of whites in America and maybe that’s why they encounter police more often as opposed to racist white cops, I will be labeled a hater and a racist. I’m neither and thus I’m likely to keep my mouth shut (indeed, publishing that on my blog is even risky).

Those are just two examples that pop to mind quickly. There are hundreds more that fall under rubrics like “political correctness,” “hate speech,” “offensive speech,” etc. where all those definitions have been created on the left. And, to avoid doubt, I’m not talking about waving a swastika or using the N-word. I think we can all agree those and acts like them are highly offensive and, while protected under the constitution, have no place in a polite and caring society. I’m simply talking about very valid, commonly held beliefs, often by half or more than half the US population, that have been driven underground or into oblivion by liberal scare tactics and intimidation.

Since I don’t get invited to the liberal sewing circles, I’m not sure how this is discussed there, but I strongly suspect they think it comes from the faux moral high ground that they believe they live on. They’re not suppressing my free speech; they’re just making the world a better place. Except they aren’t. I don’t know, but I find it disturbing in a free society.

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Liberal Hypocrisy, Part VII (NFL Protests)

I posted the image to the left on FB yesterday and my buddy Michael commented, “What I like about this picture are the words ‘feel free.’” This comment finally brought clarity to me on this whole kneeling for the National Anthem issue at NFL games. I feel a bit sheepish that it took me so long to get it because it circles back to the same concept we see over and over in American politics – liberal hypocrisy. Let me connect the dots for you, not that they’re that hard to follow.

First, to state the obvious, everyone in the United States of America has a right to freedom of speech and expression and that includes speech and expression that other people don’t like. So, I have no legal argument whatsoever with what these NFL players are doing. I have an issue with the disrespect and hypocrisy that’s taking place at many levels.

Let’s start with the disrespect though I’m not breaking any new ground here. It’s very simple. The men and woman of our military have been putting their lives on the line for nearly 250 years to ensure the rights and freedoms that these NFL thugs enjoy every day. Indeed, it is the very freedom they provide that has enabled these thugs to play a child’s game and make millions of dollars doing it. That’s just plain rude and disrespectful and their moms and dads need to scold them for being such little whiney brats. Every single military veteran I’ve spoken to about this is deeply offended. How in the world could you look at the picture above and not think “yeah, it’s certainly legal to kneel during our National Anthem, but you sure are an asshole if you do it.” Seriously, how?

Now, let’s move on to the more nuanced aspect of this charade – the liberal hypocrisy. The most common argument in favor of these silly protests is that they are a fully protected form of speech/expression under the constitution. I agree. As discussed above, it is a horribly offensive form of expression and offensive to the wrong people, but it is indeed protected. Liberals all over FB, and my friend Michael, have made this clear.

Now, turn your attention quickly to that other great bastion of free expression – the American college campus. These institutions, now completely run by liberals, have almost completely shut down all forms of expression they disagree with in the name of avoiding offense.

So, let me get this straight. In the chronically hypocritical liberal mind, it’s totally protected speech/expression to offend the very people of who put their lives on the line to defend those rights, but it’s totally not OK to offend the college snowflakes by allowing speech that doesn’t conform to liberal dogma. Just when I think the hypocrisy can’t get any worse, it does.

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Don’t Go Through Michigan

I’ve written periodically about my travel foibles and yesterday gets special recognition as a bizarre travel day. No, I didn’t have to sit next to a guy in coach eating baked beans, though I am still traumatized by that unfortunate occurrence a few weeks ago. Yesterday’s tale started out with a scheduled meeting today in Irvine, California.

While I pause to sip my coffee, please look up two things: (1) the relative geographic locations of my home in Washington, DC and Irvine, CA and (2) a logical travel plan to get from one to the other. Once you’ve digested these two things, please tell me the best way to make this trip. If you said, “Fly from DC to Grand Rapids, Michigan then take a car service from Grand Rapids to East Lansing, Michigan, then fly from Capitol Regional Airport in Lansing (that makes it sound really big….um, it isn’t) to Chicago, then from Chicago to Orange County, CA” you win the prize!

OK, so in hindsight, that wasn’t the best route, but it is the route I chose when my business partner urged me to join him for a meeting in East Lansing and further encouraged me to meet him at a different meeting in Grand Rapids and ride to East Lansing together. As I now sit at my desk in DC, having never made it to California, thus missing the primary meeting I needed to attend, I kinda wish I had flown nonstop from DC to California. Alas, I did not.

It all seemed to be running smoothly when I arrived at the Lansing airport at about 4:30 PM for my 6 PM United flight to Chicago, which was going to leave me plenty of time for my connection to Orange County, CA. With perfect weather in both Lansing and Chicago and a plane already at the gate, nothing could go wrong. Until it did. At about 5:30 PM, they announced that our flight was delayed to 7:30 PM due to weather in Chicago. Hmmm, the radar showed no rain within 100 miles of Chicago.

It quickly became clear to me that I would miss my connection to Orange County, the last of the day, and quite likely would end up spending the night in Chicago and perhaps the entire next day trying to figure out a way home. My plan B was to fly back home immediately and do my California meeting by phone. So, I quickly rebooked on a 7:30 PM Delta flight to Detroit, connecting back to DC, landing at 11:30 PM. It was a long layover in Detroit and, trust me, you don’t want to ever spend more than 3 hours in Detroit for any reason, even in the safety of the airport. But, it was my best option, so I grabbed it.

Then a series of “firsts” kicked in. The first first was when I was working with the United gate agent (United, recall, was my original carrier) to make sure United refunded my original ticket to pay for the Delta flight home. It was only 6:45 so probably a good 15 minutes before my 7:30 Delta flight to Detroit would start boarding. My cell phone rang and it was the Delta gate agent. She said, “Oh hi Mr. Robertson – are you coming with us to Detroit tonight?” Wait, what? Have you ever gotten a call from a gate agent telling you to hurry up to the gate. I asked why she was calling when it was still 45 min before take off. She replied, “Well, all the other passengers are here and ready so if you’re ready, we can go early.” It sounded more like the departure for a family beach trip than a major airline sending off a flight. Seriously, did you know that all the passengers could get together and vote to leave early? Good to know.

So, I sprinted the entire length of the Lansing airport – all 100 yards of it – and jumped on my flight to Detroit. That’s when the second first occurred. Indeed my 7:30 PM flight did leave early. So early, in fact, that it LANDED in Detroit at 7:29. I’m not making that up. We landed one minute before we were supposed to take off. Hey, I really love this democratic “we the passengers” approach to aviation. I’m going to vote all my flights to leave early from now on (question: is this a majority rules type thing or does it have to be unanimous?).

The other great thing about this was that, instead of spending 3 perilous hours in Detroit, I could make the 8:15 connection to DC and get home earlier. Well, not so fast. The pilot announced that since we had actually arrived in Detroit before we had left Lansing, they had no open gate for us. Natch. No worries, he said, we’ll have you to a gate by about 7:50. We were arriving at Gate C2 and the 8:15 to DC was departing out of Gate A18. A quick check of the airport terminal map in the Delta magazine showed that those two gates are very close together (note to self: those friggin’ terminal maps are NOT drawn to scale).

Indeed, we pulled up to gate C2 at 7:50, with plenty of time for me to sprint the not-drawn-to-scale distance from C2 to A18 and my assistant had confirmed there were open seats on the 8:15. But, as luck would have it, when the Delta agent came out to steer the jet bridge to our plane we got a student driver. You cannot make this up – it took her 10 minutes to get the jet bridge to the plane, thereby leaving my aging legs only about 5-10 minutes to run the marathon from C2 to A18 (seriously, it’s like a goddam mile).

I tried anyway. I sprinted with my suit jacket on, wearing a heavy backpack and carrying my suitcase. I made it! I got to the gate at 8:10. Yay. Perfect timing. Perfect timing, that is, to watch the 8:15 pull off the gate and head to DC without me. I sat panting at A18 for about 10 minutes deciding whether or not to have a heart attack, finally deciding not to. I had a few drinks, caught the 10 PM and was home in my own bed by 12:30 AM.

Next time, I think I’ll take a more direct route.

 

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Allergies, God, and Sinuses

As a religious person, I don’t want to ever suggest that God screwed up, but, like all of us folks down here that He created in His own image, He has good days and bad days. You know what I’m talking about; there are some days you arrive at your job in the morning and, by 10 AM, you feel like you’ve accomplished a week’s worth of work. Then there are other days, you walk out at 6:00 PM, having worked a 10 hour day, feeling like you accomplished nothing. Same for God, including that all important time frame when he was doing the design engineering work on our bodies. He clearly got tired on certain days when He was designing us (see: knees and spine) and had other days where He was either super caffeinated or just really insightful (see: eyes, ears, immune system). As we’ve entered spring here in the DC area and the pollen is so thick you can cut it with a steak knife, I wanted to make a few comments on God’s engineering work on our sinuses.

When designing a system to hold fluid for a purpose, but then let it drain away, an engineer has two basic options to drain the fluid: (1) pump it out or (2) let it drain by gravity. God, having designed the most sophisticated pump in all of engineering history (the heart), He was unable to miniaturize it to fit in the sinus cavities, so He did what any smart engineer would do, which is use gravity to drain the fluid. Now, He had the added challenge that He had already designed the immune system and the fluids it required (highly viscous fluids it turns out), so all of this work had to retrofit the fluid He had already decided on. That’s fairly typical when designing a drainage system actually. Engineers, not even God, usually don’t get to choose the fluid. The fluid defines the system, then the engineer figures out how to move the fluid. So, even with a viscous fluid like snot, gravity is a viable force for drainage.

However, something then went horribly awry in the design. Arguably His worst day ever in the engineering lab of human creation was the day He put the final drains in for the sinuses. In order to get the sinus cavities to fit neatly into the human skull, leaving us all with our attractive facial features, cute little cheek bones, and a functional nose through which to have a second option to inhale the oxygen He designed us to live on, He put the sinus drains on top. That’s right, He designed a system to drain fluid by gravity, but put the drains on the top, instead of the bottom. So, if we all walked on our hands or stood on our heads for a few hours a day, our sinuses would feel just fine in the spring. Alas, as we walk around on the two awesome legs He designed for us (well, all but the knees), our sinuses just fill with snot til we can’t breathe, sleep, or function in polite society. Like I said, we all have good days and bad days at the office. Please hand me the Zyrtec.

 

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