MGMT bs 101

Day 2 of management training. I have realized that there are certain corporate words that really set me off. It's irrational. Today we were talking about mission statements and values in my training class and before the conversation got started, the instructor asked the class if anyone knew what those were.

I responded that they were useless pieces of corporate fluffery that senior management comes up with after a two day trip to some resort for a retreat. They usually include phrases like "empower" and "world-class" and they have no value at all except as an excuse for management to feel good about itself.

Actually, my comment was much more stronly worded and I was clearly visibly upset by the mere mention of "Mission Statement". These things are such obvious PR bullshit items. How can anyone take these seriously?

I'm weird that way. Once I had calmed down enough to become rational again, I actually enjoyed the exercise of coming up with a mission statement for my group. I thought it was pretty good and I think I did a good job of avoiding management-speak. I attempted to actually capture our purpose for existing.

Earlier this week, our divisional VP gave a strat plan review for management and I literally grilled him like a prosecutor on some of the items brought up during his presentation. Again, I was visibly angry. Why do I do shit like that? It's a dumb-ass thing to do, calling out the VP who runs our division in front of all my managerial peers. That kind of stunt falls into the "career-ending move" category, and I knew it as it was happening, but I couldn't stop myself. I was too angry to act rationally.

There is something about corporate bullshittery that sets me off like practically nothing else I can think of. I can't stand being near it. I actually have a physical reaction to it. I'm not one who hides anger well, so I end up poisoning entire meetings with my bitterness towards anything that reeks of managerial bullshit.

This coming Monday, my more immediate VP is going to roll out some strategy plan for our division and I am going to skip that meeting entirely. It's for the common good, because otherwise, I'd just sit there and become sullen and bitter and then at the first opening for questions from the audience, I'd tear into his presentation with my face flushed and the sarcasm dripping off my tongue as I attempted to verbally eviscerate the presentation. Not a good idea. I'll catch the PowerPoint slides later and flip through them in private.

I don't understand myself sometimes.

Proposition 8 - where do you go from here?

First the good cop:
To gay people in California, I know how you must feel. I went through a similar experience in 2004 when gay families were written out of the state constitution in Georgia, except that I never had the least bit of hope that we'd be saved. No one, not even the HRC, helped us fight in Georgia. Looking back on it, I can see why no one came to help us -- there was no chance in hell we would win. We were left to fight with our own poorly funded and poorly organized half-hearted attempt to stop the inevitable. Despite knowing that most of my fellow Georgians were going to vote me out of the constitution, I wasn't prepared for the feeling of knowing, without a doubt, that most people in my state did not consider my family worthy of legal status.

It took a while to get past that. It took me a while before I stopped wondering which of my co-workers voted against me. It took a while before it stopped being personal.

Take a minute to mourn your loss, but take no more than that. We lost that particular battle, but the over-arching fight for equality is far from lost. I hope you channel your anger and energy into fighting the larger battle for gay rights. It's time to work on passing ENDA and on defeating DOMA. It's time to work on a federal hate crimes law that extends protection to gay and lesbian people.

Now the bad cop:
Gays in California have long been divorced from the realities that face gay and lesbian people in locations outside the gay bubble. One good effect of losing on Proposition 8 is that you might finally wake up and see that the world is much bigger and much less accepting than your own neighborhood. Get over yourselves. You're not nearly as special as you think you are. You were so goddamn enmeshed in your fantasy of acceptance that you failed to keep up with what was going on outside of the gay ghetto.

We - gay people - failed to find a way to communicate the truth through the lies of Mormon bigotry. We were too timid in our messages and we fought the battle solely in the terms of the other side. That's an unwinnable situation. We have to prepare better for similar fights that will pop up in other states over the next few years.

The gay community in California got off to a very late start in organizing and fund-raising, partly because it was difficult to get people to pay attention to the looming threat. This isn't just a problem in California, but all over the United States. It is incredibly difficult to get gay people to organize against something and fight it. Most gays don't care. Or they don't care about the current fight. Or they'd care, but it's just not an issue they want to get involved in, or there is something they feel is more immediate, or they'll fight for that right once we have some other problem under control. In other words, gay people are easy political targets because we don't work together to fight the fight in front of us. We don't put forth an effective response to political threats.

This is still a work-in-progress. I need to go back through and tweak the wording to get the messaging correct.

CA Prop 8 - What next?

Regardless of what happens in California with Proposition 8, the battle for marriage equality is not over. If the anti-marriage forces win in California, then the path to equality takes a different path. You don't stop fighting for your rights when you are defeated in one battle. You pick up, regroup, and figure out where to take the fight next.

From here, regardless of whether California goes for or against us, the fight looks like this:

Keep building out the New England stronghold:
- Keep Massachusetts and Connecticut
- Add New York and Rhode Island
- Possibly add New Jersey and Vermont

Fight for fair judges:
- We did our part by getting Obama in office and increasing Democratic majorities in both houses.
- Press Congress and President Obama to appoint and approve fair minded progressive judges.

Fight the federal battles:
- Push for an end to DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act).
- Push for federal recognition of same sex marriages in matters such as taxes.
- Push for ENDA (Employment Non-Discrimination Act).

Begin laying the groundwork for the judicial challenges that will lead to same sex couples being recognized as equals throughout the nation.

Sooner or later, a gay couple is going to move from Massachusetts or Connecticut to California or Arizona or Florida. The Full Faith and Credit clause of the US Constitution states:
Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State. And the Congress may by general Laws prescribe the Manner in which such Acts, Records and Proceedings shall be proved, and the Effect thereof.

Sooner or later, states that do not allow same sex marriage will be forced to consider the legality of marriages performed in other states. The Constitution is pretty clear - marriages in one state are valid in any other state. All that is standing in our way is DOMA.

Will Barack Obama and the Democrats have the balls to stand up and fight for gay and lesbian Americans? That remains to be seen. I'm disappointed in Obama for not taking a clearer, stronger stand against Proposition 8 in California. His actions regarding gay and lesbian issues to date leave much to be desired. Gay and lesbian Americans better be prepared to raise their voices and set expectations for our new president.

We must not let him do what President Clinton did and disregard the needs and wants of gay and lesbian citizens. We must hold President Obama and the Democratic Congress accountable. We helped get them in office. Now it's their turn to help us in our fight for equality.

(no subject)

Marilyn Musgrave, the Republican from Colorado who made her mark by introducing the Federal Marriage Amendment in the House has lost her race. It's the end of an era.

Cleaning it out

I'm throwing out stuff all over the house. It's like Spring cleaning, only it's in Autumn. If I'm not really going to use it again and if it has no real value to me as a sentimental item, then it goes into the boxes. I'm building up boxes of stuff to take away. It's cathartic and I'm in the mood to downsize.

I'm throwing out lots of stuff as I cull my belongings. I've been going through my book collection and pulling out all the books that I no longer want - anything about gardening, construction, and so on. My days as a do-it-yourselfer are over. I love the feeling of tossing those books aside. Goodbye mental weight. Fuck you plumbing and electrical. Ha ha ha landscaping books. Never never never. I will never give a fucking shit about the plants in my yard. I am not going to do it myself. I am not going to do it at all.

It feels good, it feels sad, it's healing.... Sometimes I feel the emotions that I had put away with some thing or other. Books? Sorry Neal Stephenson. I gave it a good college try, but I'm just never going to be into science fiction. Old computer books go in the trash or in the recycling bin or in the box that will go to Goodwill. No one wants a C++ book from 1998.

I need more boxes before I move into my clothes closet. Anything that doesn't fit or isn't something I'd wear today is going out. Clean out some Space. Less. Is. More. Make room for the future.

Sometimes I run across something that sparks a reaction in me.

The goddamn cat shampoo from the goddamn animal dermatologist. Oh Charlie, I am so sorry I tortured you with that shit. It was all for nothing. You were rubbing your belly bald because it felt funny because you had cancer. I know it now, but I couldn't have known that then. I kept thinking it was a skin condition. All the shit I put you through -- and it wasn't cheap for me -- all of it for nothing. I lost you. I didn't even know that was going to happen. I'm happy to throw the shampoo out, but I pause just briefly before letting go and I wish for a second that I could go back and fix it. I wish I could see you one more time, purring while I rub your fur.

I'll be happy to see this year behind me. It's time to let go. I hate 2008. I've hated it for months. It's a shitty year and it's time to let the past go. Let the present roll right off into the past. Clear out the stuff. Clear out the address book. Let go let go let go. Let it go. Make room for the New.

I am not nostalgic and I am not sentimental. Fuck the past. Fuck it. Fuck you 2008. I don't care and I won't bother to remember you.

(no subject)

Friday morning, NPR did two stories about Georgia suddenly being "in play" for the election, in the Presidential race, where it's looking do-able for Obama to win, and in the Senate race, where Jim Martin, despite his lame-ass hair, is suddenly within striking distance of Saxby Chambliss, a Grade-A Asshole of a man.

"Cool," I thought. It's a bit late in the game, but it'll be nice to see what it's like to be in a swing state for this last weekend.

By 10pm last night, I had received 2 phone calls from Obama campaign organizers. They've opened an office in my neighborhood.

I called back and volunteered to help out today. I am now part of the Obama Army. They are identifying people who haven't yet voted and making sure that those people vote on Tuesday.


A couple of nights ago, The 40 Year Old Virgin was on television and I had it on while doing stuff around the house. Unfortunately, one of the last scenes in the movie features the song Age of Aquarius rather prominently for about 3-4 minutes. Since that point, I've had the damn song stuck in my head. It's a slow form of torture.

Harmony and understanding...
Something da da da dah something...



It is the DAWNING of the age of Aquarius, the age of Aquarius, ....

And it goes on and on and on inside my head, unceasing and unending. In the shower, in the car, in meetings, while eating, while reading. With the same fuzzy lyrics, never getting better.


This is worse than that time I had Bette Midler's song The Rose stuck in my head through all of puberty. For two solid years, I had "Some say love, it is a river..." playing over and over in my head, while puberty was happening to me. No wonder I turned out gay and confused.

The Mormon fight against marriage

What I don't get is why the Mormons are so adamant about defeating marriage equality in California. Nearly all the funding and volunteering for the "Yes on 8" campaign has come from the Mormon Church. Why? What's the deal with Mormons and California?

I know the Mormon Church is right up there with the Southern Baptists as far as right wing crazy goes, but what are they trying to prove in California? Why go to so much trouble?

The Mormon Church itself is involved in the campaign. It's not just Mormon voters in California who are involved, it's the leadership of the organization itself.

I don't get it. Why is this issue so important to the Mormon Church? What am I missing? The Mormon Church has never been civil to gay people, but why, all of a sudden, has it practically declared war on us?

One theory that I've seen is that the Mormon Church is trying to gain favor with the rest of the theocon movement, such as the Evangelical Movement and the Southern Baptist Convention. By defeating marriage equality in the largest state in the Union, the Mormons would finally have to be taken seriously by the other socially conservative religious groups, or so the theory goes. The Mormons and the Southern Baptists have long been rivals and I don't see this helping much in that regard. No matter what the Mormons do, the Southern Baptists are still going to think they are going to hell right along with the rest of us who don't believe in Christ. (Whether or not the Southern Baptists are correct about the Mormon Church not being Christian is irrelevant. We're talking about religious beliefs here. Facts don't matter.)

And what, besides work our asses off in response to keep marriage legal, are we going to do about it? What actions after November 4th should gay and lesbian people take regarding the Mormon Church? One idea that comes to mind is to boycott Mormon-owned businesses, and while I'm ready to do battle against the Cult of Salt Lake, I'm not thrilled with that idea. Up until this election, I never really thought of the Mormon Church as anything other than a small, insular group that had grown large enough over the years to be considered a religion. I have nothing against Mormon followers, but the religious organization they support financially is now actively fighting against my rights. How does one respond to that?