Category Archives: Uncategorized

College Free Speech Rankings

2020 College Free Speech Rankings Reveal Crisis on Campus By Nathan Harden
September 29, 2020  RealClearEduction.com

RealClearEducation developed the College Free Speech Rankings in partnership with the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), a leading advocacy group for free speech and academic freedom.

Still, even Chicago has plenty of room for improvement. It won the top spot with an overall score of only 64.19 out of a possible 100 on the scale developed for these rankings. That shows just how poorly most other schools are doing.

 

 

APL 5000 Session 2 Speaking the Truth and Case Study

Tim Clark reply: Case Study Session 2

On strategy, despite your personal apologetic (in my case Christian Political Apologetic), as this case study points out, each situation or opportunity is different which reinforces the importance of the Truth provided by a common Christian worldview (message) and reinforcement of that Truth as represented by the attributes of the messenger.

As I referenced in the reply to Speaking the Truth Prompt, Ravi Zacharias identifies that a worldview has four elements: meaning, morality, and destiny. He further states that a worldview can be validated by applying three tests for truth: logical consistency, empirical adequacy, and experiential relevance. He reinforces that “When a worldview is submitted to these tests, the Christian message is utterly unique and meets the demand for truth.”[1]

Like any good Father, Mikos loves his brother. He believes that the “crystal” offers some value in helping his brother heal. He also believes that “all roads lead to heaven.”  Mikos also indicates that he is open to listening to other (Christian) views.  Given Mikos’ Greek Orthodox background, might also be helpful to do a little research with the goals of starting with a foundation that could then be used to compare and contrast to Christianity.

Convincing Mikos that there is a living God and that belief and prayer would have more value than “a crystal” may help lead him to the Truth. I think you would need to be prepared to answer the question that assuming his brother was not a believer, where would he end up if he dies.

•        Deuteronomy 4:31: “(For the LORD your God is a merciful God), He will not forsake you.”

•        Psalm 36:5: “Your mercy, O LORD, is in the heavens; Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.”

1.     Give an example of an apologetic dialogue with Mikos that involves at least one apologetic method and some distinct use of Scripture that would possibly speak to Mikos and his worldview.

Tanya Walker in her article, “But … What About other Religions” (McDowell, Apologetics, 273), addresses Mikos’ belief “that everyone gets to go to heaven and that God is like a welcoming Grandpa that would never refuse anyone’s request to come into His kingdom.” Walker identifies the opportunity to address three general themes: An Error of Logic, Concerns of Character, A question of Destination and the Uniqueness of Jesus Christ:

  • Error of Logic – “All roads lead to God.”  Belief caused by a lack of knowledge or logic.
  • Concerns of Character: Credibility of the “messenger” importance of conveying the message in context of Truth, Content, and Manner.  In this case, a prior relationship (friendship) and discussion indicate this criterion may not be an issue. Walker reinforces the importance of listening to the question and questioner and giving the individual the respect of our attention.
  • Destination and Uniqueness of Jesus Christ.  This is supported by historical facts and evidence.  Strobel’s “The Case for Christ”, identifies numerous categories of proof. Evidence includes eyewitness, documentary, corroborating, rebuttal, scientific, psychological, circumstantial, and fingerprint. (Strobel, 14-16).

1.a. Distinct use of Scripture: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16 NIV)

Regarding a specific “Dialogue,” I would draft a script (talking points) of different options that I could use depending on the direction of the conversation and the condition of the brother.

2.   Give at least seven scriptures that would be helpful and understandable to Mikos in this situation.  

The scriptures I provided would help support a theme that there is a one true Living God that loves him and offers comfort and support.  The opportunity is converting Mikos to a belief in Christianity and also being prepared to provide comfort in the event his brother dies. Potential relevant scriptures:

1. Trust in the Lord with all your heart; And do not lean on your own understanding.

2. So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;  I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10 NIV)

3. John 14:6 (NIV) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

4. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. (Psalm 34:18 NIV)

5. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. (Matthew 5:4 NIV)

6. “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest”. (Mathew 11:28 NIV)

7. “.. cast your burden upon the Lord and He will sustain you;  He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.” (Psalm 55:22 NIV)

8. “… casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.” ( 1Peter 5:7 NIV)

9. “When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You.” (Psalm 56:3 NIV)

10. “I sought the Lord, and He answered me, And delivered me from all my fears.”  (Psalm 34:4, NIV)

11. “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30 NIV)

3. Explain why apologetic methods are fortified by a biblical basis.

 Apologetics methods reinforce the truth of the message and the credibility of the messenger.  Methods offer a variety of strategies to make the case and advocate for belief in Biblical Faith. Douglas Groothus in his book “Christian Apologetics,” references how The Federalist Papers supported the case for the Constitution. (Groothus, 2011, 23)

Tim Clark – Speaking the Truth – Initial Post

In addressing the prompt – Speaking the Truth, I think of the need to address the question: “Do I and my apologetic (worldview) speak the truth in word and deed?”

Ravi Zacharias identifies that a worldview has four elements: meaning, morality, and destiny. He further states that a worldview can be validated by applying three tests for truth: logical consistency, empirical adequacy, and experiential relevance. He reinforces that “When a worldview is submitted to these tests, the Christian message is utterly unique and meets the demand for truth.”[1]

A test of individual (messenger) effectiveness on the application of a personal apologetic (worldview) reinforced by our instructor is to “have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.” (I Cor. 9:22).  “An ambitious goal but you have the rest of your life 🙂 God bless your efforts for His glory! “

“Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.
(1 Thessalonians 5:11 ESV).

Lee Strobel’s presentation in Session 1 of the six different evangelical styles helps to provide some context and support for being more effective.  In my case, my style includes more of a heavy emphasis on the intellectual and testimonial attributes, but I have also applied the others – direct, relational, invitational, and servant when the situation warranted.

Sean McDowell, in his book “A New Kind of Apologist reinforces the needed attributes of being humble, relational, studious, and a practitioner. (McDowell, 2016, 15-16).  My advocacy is for a Christian Political Apologetic that McDowell introduced in his book in an article by Jennifer A. Mathews titled: “A Christian Political Apologetic: Why, What, and How.” (McDowell, 2016, 167).

The test of “Truth” can be assessed not only by the message (respective apologetic and worldview) but also on the attributes of the messenger.

My approach to a Christian Political Apologetic is to leverage the interdependencies among Christianity, Quality Management, and Citizenship. The foundation for this approach can be summarized as follows:

  • God created the world (heaven and earth) (Genesis 1:1). Variation is one of the laws of nature that states that everyone and everything is unique: one of a kind. 
  • Variation is the difference between the ideal (perfection) and the actual situation. [2]  God created variation and expects us to reduce it. – be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Mathew 5:48 NIV). The Bible provides the moral code and Jesus the example on the application of this code.
  • Variation either gets better (more needs are met) or it gets worse (the effects on people of unmet needs). In addition to logic and reason, I may need to heavily reinforce this point within context of the Bible:
    • “To him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin” (James 4:17  ESV).
    •  Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:24-30). Reinforces that leveraging resources is “better” than doing nothing which is “worse.”
    •  Deeds can lead to heaven (better) or hell (worse).

It is generally accepted within the quality profession, that the closer a product or service is to the ideal (optimum, nominal), the higher the quality and lower the costs. This concept is referred to as the Taguchi loss function.[3] More information on the quality profession and industry provided by the American Society for Quality).[4]

The U.S. Founding Fathers were influenced by Judeo-Christian teaching and principles and designed a system of government that could be continually improved in pursuit of “a more perfect Union.”

From the Quality Management and Citizenship perspective, I wrote a book[5] – published in 1999 by the American Society for Quality, that made the case as to the relevance of the association between Quality and Citizenship. I wrote dozens of articles on the topic and presented numerous workshops and seminars. I also provided countless posts on social media on the topic.  In the book, the Christian perspective was implied as opposed to stated and includes numerous examples that ranged from personal to the national.

With Jesus’s guidance, I am confident that I can make the case that a Christian Political Apologetic and worldview that leverages the interdependencies of Christianity, Quality Management and Citizenship represents Truth.

 


[1] Ravi Zacharias, “Ravi Zacharias: Four Criteria for a Coherent Worldview,” January 23, 2019, YouTube video, 4:39, https://youtu.be/uMe_tvZN6HQ. Ravi Zacharias, “Think Again,” RZIM, https://www.rzim.org/read/just-thinking-magazine/think-again-deep-questions

[2] American Society for Quality: What is the Law of Variation. https://asq.org/quality-resources/variation .

[3] Wikipedia: Taguchi Loss Function. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taguchi_loss_function

[4] American Society for Quality. https://asq.org/about-asq

[5] Timothy J. Clark, Success Through Quality: Support Guide for the Journey to Continuous Improvement, Milwaukee: ASQ Press, 1999.

Stephen Fowler 
RE: Tim Clark – Speaking the Truth – Initial Post

Tim

Everything you write fascinates and challenges me.  I am eager to continue to learn from you.

I am particularly interested in your comments on Variation.  From a professional standpoint these seem to be ideas that have been proven over time.  Therefore, I am interested in learning how they work in sharing our faith.  In particular, one comment you made was ” Deeds can lead to heaven (better) or hell (worse).”  I would love to have you elaborate on that more.  I have believed for a long time that I am saved to heaven by grace only.  That implies that I cannot do enough good things to get to heaven without grace.  I do understand that James speaks to the fact that faith without works is dead and I have always interpreted that to be a test of whether or not I had real faith, not a test of whether I could do enough good things to get to heaven.  Am I misunderstanding your comment and if so please advise.  If not, I would love to hear your thoughts so I can ponder on them.

I do not mean to challenge your view on this just to better understand the context and hopefully together we can both learn something.

Timothy Clark 
RE: Tim Clark – Speaking the Truth – Initial Post

 Hi Steve, appreciate the feedback.

Sharing the quality perspective in a Christian forum is new to me. I’ve been focusing more on the quality and political aspect and I appreciate your questions.

On your statement: “I have believed for a long time that I am saved to heaven by grace only. That implies that I cannot do enough good things to get to heaven without grace.”

The basic premise: Only God is perfect; man is imperfect and expected by God to utilize our unique potential and capabilities that help improve the lives of our fellow man. Given variation, we are all unique, one of a kind, and provided with a unique purpose, plan, potential and god-given capabilities. We have the “choice” as to whether or not we develop these capabilities and apply them in doing the right things that only we can do with God’s grace and guidance.

Consequently, continual improvement is a moral imperative. Not applying our collective talents and unique capabilities have a cost on people and society that are not benefiting from these gifts. Doesn’t the Christian church have a responsibility to help people discover their purpose and share their gifts and god’s plan for them to include being a better citizen?

On the Taguchi loss function, this just covers the cost to society of imperfect products and services. It does not cover the cost to society of products and services that are never developed because more people at not applying more of their full potential.

In his book When Jesus Came to Harvard, Making Moral Choices Today, Harvey Cox reinforces the “better or worse” theme regarding moral choices:   “…there has been an emerging convergence of the two ways of thinking that includes the consequences of action and inaction. …We can now do great evil without intending to. What we need today is more awareness, a wider recognition of how vast systems we are caught up in can do terrible things and how we can contribute to evil without even being conscious of it.”

I think the current divisiveness, violence, and chaos in the country provides a pretty good illustration of our failure as citizens to demand the application of  better methods – thus the need for a Christian based Political Apologetic.

Thoughts?

Reply Quote Edit

Thanks

Steve

2021 County Budget

Oct 20, 2020, County Council Meeting.   No surprises. The state allows counties to accept an increase in taxes as a result of a calculation referred to as the Growth Quotient. This year it is around $130K  and was approved by the Council. The increase will be shared by property owners.

  • County employees received a 3% cost of living increase.
  • The budget accommodates an increase associated with ambulance service and employees’ health insurance costs.
  • Facebook Post – BCM
    • Commentary: This is the third year I sat through the budget process. With the exception of the consultants and attorneys that work within the system, I do not think there is a citizen in the county – if not Indiana (including our county elected officials) that could explain the financial report, taxes, property assessment, appraisal, and budget processes. Note that by law, We the People are responsible for the performance of the system and lack the knowledge to provide the needed oversight. You can delegate accountability to an elected official but not responsibility. A solution could include a Go Fund Me campaign to developed a needed citizen guide.

 

Nov 10, 2020. County budget approved; slight tax increase included By

Sep 22, 2020.  Council moves $500,000 to pay health insurance for rest of year By 

Unlike the Schools, the county has an expensive and high-risk plan that routinely exceeds budget projections. In 2019, it was $650,000 over and in 2018 $700,000.

Sep 1, 2020. BCD. County adjusts budget requests for 2021; forecast revenue drops around 5 percent By

Aug 21, 2020. Brown County Matters – Notes from the hearings.

County Council – Budget Hearings Aug 17-19, 2020 – Notes.

o. Potential GOOD News – Projected costs expected to be less than projected revenue by roughly 147K at this point. Kudos to the Offices and Departments that provide in the words of the county consultant, “reasonable and workable” budgets. State and federal grant money also helped to supplement lost revenue due to Covid.

o. Near Final Budget for 2021. This will occur in October which provides the needed time to confirm overall assessed property values, revenue projections from the state and feds (grant money), and county costs. The State also builds in a “growth” related increase (3-4% range?). The county can opt to decline this increase that generally results in passing on modest increases in tax rates. Note also that the council’s “budget” determines the extent of any property tax increases..

o. Music Center / Convention Visitors Commission (CVC). The bank is requiring that the Music Center retain 50%of the revenue from the innkeeper’s tax to help ensure the venue can meet interests and principal payments. The county “loaned” the center up to $150K from the motor vehicle fund to cover interest payments and it is expected that interest only payments will continue through the first quarter of next year.

o. Music Center / Convention Visitors Commission (CVC). The bank is requiring that the Music Center retain 50%of the revenue from the innkeeper’s tax to help ensure the venue can meet interests and principal payments. The county “loaned” the center up to $150K from the motor vehicle highway fund to cover interest payments. It is expected that interest-only payments will continue through the first quarter of next year.cision-making.

o. Music Center / Convention Visitors Commission (CVC). The bank is requiring that the Music Center retain 50%of the revenue from the innkeepers tax to help ensure the venue can meet interests and principal payments. The county “loaned” the center up to $150K from the motor vehicle highway fund to cover interest payments. It is expected that interest-only payments will continue through the first quarter of next year.

o. Note that by Statute (
IC 6-9-14), the council is responsible for reviewing and approving the CVC budget which in the past has basically consisted of the CVC identifying the amount of revenue expected and that will be spent (generally, all of it). This hands-off approach contributed to the council not requiring a hold-back of revenue to cover mortgage payments vice the bank having to step-in. Before the Music Center, over 90% of the revenue was transferred to the Convention Visitors Bureau (CVB) (a non-profit) that was responsible for marketing and promoting tourism.

o. Music Center – County Meetings. I may have been the only citizen that attended all three sessions. No waiting in line and a wide range of seating choices. 🙂 Suzannah Couch from the Democrat also attended all the sessions – looking forward to reading about her perspective.

APL Session 2 Discussion

 Christian Political Apologetic

I support a  Christian Political Apologetic described as embracing, supporting, and leading change that results in “a more perfect Union.”  This apologetic is supported by building on the fundamental interdependencies among Christianity, Quality Management, and Citizenship.

  • In her essay A Christian Political Apologetic: Why, What, and How, Jennifer A Marshall  reinforces the following (1) :
    • For the Christian, citizenship is about stewardship. That’s especially true in a country where our most important governing document begins with “We the People.” That means we have a lot of responsibility. In a free society, citizenship requires us to think through many decisions deeply and personally. Outsourcing our opinions on issues isn’t an option.
    • A biblical worldview should shape our diagnosis of the problems politics seeks to address and our vision of how to resolve them. What we call politics is one part of a much larger human quest to order our lives together.
    • Christians need a sound political apologetic—a framework for why, what, and how to engage in politics for the glory of God and the good of our neighbors.

Christian Perspective

Stewardship from a  Christian perspective is focused on improvement by applying the teachings of Jesus Christ that result in less imperfection. Jesus is the role model for living in obedience to God’s will.

  • “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Matthew 5:48 
  •  “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:2).

Citizen Perspective

The focus of the apologetic from a  Citizen perspective is on reducing variation from the ideal.  Reducing variation is synonymous with reducing imperfection.  Many of the Founding Fathers were influenced by Judeo-Christian principles and designed a system of government that could be continuously improved.  The  U.S. Constitution enables “We the People” to work together to achieve “a more perfect Union.”

  • We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America. Reference: U.S. Constitution.

Quality Management Perspective

From a Quality Management perspective, reducing variation from the ideal results in higher quality and lower costs.   According to the Law of Variation described by the American Society for Quality (1):

  • Variation is defined as the difference between an ideal and an actual situation. An ideal situation represents a standard of perfection—or the highest standard of excellence defined by stakeholders …
    • According to the Law of Variation: “Everything varies;  In other words, no two things are exactly alike.”
    • “Groups of things from a constant system of causes tend to be predictable.  We can’t predict the behavior or characteristics of any one thing. Predictions only become possible for groups of things where patterns can be observed.”

A shared method for reducing variation from the ideal would include the following steps: Describe the situation and identify the reason and purpose for a particular improvement. Collect facts and data.  Identify the desired outcomes from all the stakeholders and identify what everyone would agree would be the ideal outcome.  Identify the causes of the issues and identify common causes. Develop a plan of action and execute the plan to reduce the common causes of variation.

This process parallels the concept applied in developing the U.S. system of government.  Citizens determined that the facts concerning the rule by a monarchy were unacceptable and their efforts were not leading to the desired change.  The Declaration of Independence identified the desired end state and plan of action.  In the development of the Constitution, the Founders disagreed on many issues to include who could vote, slavery, the role of the federal government vs the States. The agreed to a system (constitutional republic) that could be continually improved that included the development of new Amendments. The 13th Amendment abolished Slavery and the 19th Amendment provided women with the right to vote.

All individual action is accomplished through a process (s) in the context of a system. The system determines the majority if not all in some cases, of the outcome.  This principle is commonly expressed in the statement: “If you (and groups) always do what you always did, on average, you will a usually get what you always got.”

Quality management includes principles, methods, and tools that support reducing variation in systems and processes. Methods include applying a Plan, Do, Study, Act based cycle (PDSA) to lead and guide change efforts and to assess if the change resulted in improvement as defined by fellow citizens. Repeat the PDSA cycle until the desired outcome (s) are achieved.

 

Ref:

What is the meaning of perfection in the Bible?

https://www.gotquestions.org/perfection-in-the-Bible.html

 

===================================

Example of the Abortion Issue.  In an imperfect world, termination of a pregnancy will not be eliminated but the number can be continually reduced.   The ideal has been described as abortions being available, safe,  but rare.  Desired outcomes by stakeholders identify the polarity on the issue that range from abortion anytime, anywhere, to making it illegal with harsh penalties for violation of the law.  The causes that lead to the decision for termination include that the infant is not wanted, financial hardship, education, do not believe a fetus is a human life, federal and state polices and laws that identify the conditions

 

Biblical Description and Context for Perfection

  • Absolute perfection is a quality that belongs to God alone. Yet only in Matthew 5:48 does the Bible explicitly state that God is by nature perfect: “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” As God is the perfect being, all that He does is perfect: “He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he” (Deuteronomy 32:4). His knowledge is perfect (Job 37:16). His way is perfect, and His Word is flawless: “As for God, his way is perfect: The LORD’s word is flawless; he shields all who take refuge in him” (Psalm 18:30). God’s laws are also perfect (Psalm 19:7James 1:25). The apostle Paul describes God’s will as perfect: “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:2).  Reference: Got Questions

Among the challenges in adovating for this apologoety is that the quality profession that represent the sciences – engineering, business, management, statistics, mathematics,  physics, on the how than the why.  Christians more algined with the Why as opposed to the science.  Mnay citizens are ignorance on civices, history a dn have abated their responsibility to the policak party – vote (for those who do, and forget.

LOVE

Jeses is the model for Christians

Methods … Ideal, desired, facts, common causes

Premise

Human Needs – will never be perfectly met in these times. Needs include:

  • Physical – security, food, air, water, medical care, shelter, education
  • Psychological – Love, fellowship, peace, belonging, contribution, testimony

Law of Variation: Everything varies; no two people or things are exactly alike.

Ideal. An ideal situation represents a standard of perfection—or the highest standard of excellence.

  • Perfection.  “You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Matthew 5:48

Excellence– The result of doing more of the right things, right.  Efficiency is doing things right; Effectiveness is doing the right things.  Reducing variation from the ideal results in better quality and lower costs. Quality Chain Reaction:

U.S. Constitution.  “We the People” own the system of government – we are responsible for working together towards achieving “a more perfect Union.”

  • The U.S. Founding Fathers were influenced by Judeo-Christian principles. They understood human nature and designed a system of government with checks and balances on power that could be continuously improved in pursuit of “a more perfect Union.”
  • Revelations identify that an imbalance and centralization of power will lead to a one world government and religion that leads to the Great Tribulation ((2 Timothy 3:1; Daniel 12:4New American Bible) followed by the Millennium (Revelation 5:​9, 10; 20:​4, 6)

American Society for Quality (ASQ).  ASQ was formed after WWII to help sustain and develop the quality management methods and tools that were classified during the war.  ASQ is a global organization with members in more than 130 countries committed to helping members advance their products, services, and industries.

Internal Organization for Standardization (ISO).  Almost every successful business organization in the world has needed to incorporate a strategy for quality improvement. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) works to develop and improve quality management standards and practices throughout the world.  The ISO 9001 standards evolved from the standards developed in the United States.  In 1996, the U.S. government in 1996 made a  policy decision to support industry consensus standards over government directives.
http://asq.org/fdc/2012/06/mil-q-9858a-the-origin-of-iso-9001.html?shl=109629

Christianity

  • Hebrews 7:19  (for the Law made nothing perfect), and on the other hand there is a bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God
  • Matthew 5:48  Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

The Bible provides the moral code and Jesus the example:  “Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them”. Sermon on the Mount 

    • Psalm 19:7 ESV / The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple;
    • Corinthians 7:1 Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
    • James 1:4 – And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
    • Philippians 3:12  Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus.
    • Psalm 18:30 ESV /  

Quality
 Continuous Improvement and Learning 

Without a more conscious awareness and understanding of variation and systems, the majority of changes result in no improvement.  On a personal level for example, what percent of New Year Resolutions result in a permanent and fundamental change, e.g., an improvement?

Quality chain reactionWhen you  … Improve Quality,  Costs decrease because of less rework, fewer mistakes, fewer delays, snags, better use of machine-time and materials;  Productivity Improves;  Capture the market with better quality and lower price;  Stay in Business, and Provide jobs and more jobs.

Continuous improvement and learning can lead to more knowledge and knowledge to Wisdom.

    • If you are wise and understand God’s ways, prove it by living an honorable life, doing good works with the humility that comes from wisdom. James 3:13

Law of Variation.  Everything and everyone varies; no two things or people are ever exactly alike.  The Bible provides a moral code as to right and wrong.  Jesus through his words and deeds (action) provides a standard of perfection for us to strive to emulate.

The aim of action (good deeds) is to reduce variation from the ideal (more perfect) that results in more needs being met.   Variation either gets better (more human needs being met) or it gets worse – needs remain unmet.

    • Example Healthcare.  What percent of needs are being met? Do trends indicate improvement?
    • The more ideal, the higher the quality.  In the quality profession, it’s been proven that the more a product or service meetings the ideal (optimum, nominal, more perfect), the higher the quality and lower the cost.
      • Taguchu
      • Deming
        • Jesus came to Harvard

Actions (Deeds) – Doing and Sharing your Story – Testimony through repeated application of the Plan, Do, Study, Act (PDSA)  Cycle.

  • Plan:  What do or did you want to do to reduce variation (imperfection) and why?
  • Do (deeds). What did or will you be doing to make this happen?
  • Study. What feedback will or did your need to determine results?
  • Act.  How did or would you summarize your experience?

Matthew 10:32 ESV /  So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven,

1 Peter 3:15 ESV /  But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,

Psalm 119:46 ESV /  I will also speak of your testimonies before kings and shall not be put to shame,

Matthew 5:16 ESV / In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

John 5:31 ESV / 38 helpful votes  If I alone bear witness about myself, my testimony is not deemed true.

Citizenship

  •  In Congress, July 4, 1776. The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
  • U.S. Constitution – Preamble.  We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
  • Lincolns address at Gettysburg:
    • Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
    • … we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2020 Elections – County Democrat Platform – Racism – LoWV

The Democrat candidates for Commissioner and Council have developed their platform (positions). Republican candidates have not.

 

Nov 24, 2020.  BCD. Letter: 2020 was the most secure election ever by Shari Frank, League of Women Voters

Sep 23, 2020.  BCD. ELECTION: County council at large Q-and-A By

Sep 21, 2020. Candidate Forum  – Sponsored by the Brown County League of Women Voters.

  • We believe in the dignity of and civil and human rights of all people. We call for the end to racism in all forms. We call for a review of all county laws, directives and initiatives of all kinds by any agency or segment of county government to determine if any such laws, directives or initiatives have or could result in racism or inequality in any form. We call for the expeditious remediation of any such instances so found.
    • The statement: “We call for the end to racism in all forms.”  How is this possible morally or legally?

This position is supported by the Brown County League of Women Voters (LoWV).

  • Resolution_For_Racial_Justice Resolution for Black People and All People of Color.  By majority vote on Saturday, Aug 1, 2020, the board of the Brown County League of Women Voters voted to support the National League of Women Voters’ Resolution for “Racial Justice for Black People and All People of Color.”   Includes the following:
    • This resolution addresses racial injustices experienced by Black People, Indigenous People, and all People of Color (BIPOC) in our country. Racism is at the core of the national upheaval following George Floyd’s death on May 25, therefore it is fitting that League of Women Voters members consider how to address racial justice while carrying out the public policies of LWV.
    • Whereas, the League acknowledges painfully that America is a nation founded on racism. We must end white privilege and the myth of white supremacy if we are to become the nation we pledge to be; 

Resolves #136 and #139 met the Leagues criteria for inclusion:

    • Motion #136 – We Resolve First, That the League advocates against systemic racism in the justice system and, at a minimum, for preventing excessive force and brutality by law enforcement. We also call for prompt actions by all League members to advocate within every level of government to eradicate systemic racism, and the harm that it causes;  (1) and,
    • Motion #139 – We Resolve Second, That the League help our elected officials and all Americans recognize these truths to be self-evident; that Black, Indigenous and all people of color (BIPOC)viii deserve equal protection under the law; and that we demand solutions for the terrible wrongs done, so that regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, disability, and gender identity or sexual orientation we may truly become a nation “indivisible, with liberty and justice for all” 

Far Left vs Liberals

Inside an Elite Cancel Culture Session, Where Leftists Met the Enemy and It Was … One of Them By Richard Bernstein, RealClearInvestigations, September 08, 2020

  • But the Romano incident also highlighted another, perhaps more far-reaching, aspect of the ongoing culture wars, namely how the “woke” left seems to be devouring old school liberals. While liberals and conservatives still battle on the largest political stage, the Critics Circle fight illustrates the arcane factional struggle within the left, in which the radical faction takes on comparatively easy targets like Romano because they are accessible and vulnerable in a way that actual racists and other non-insiders are not.
  • … the cancel culture won this battle. Certainly it will be more difficult for people in the liberal press, universities, and the nonprofit world to express doubts about what has emerged as the mandatory view on racism — that it is “systemic,” that it is the abiding and chief feature of all American history and life, that we are all culpable in it, and that to deny that culpability is itself racist. 

A Conservative Perspective on Racism and Systemic Racism 

The case of George Floyd

Race and Black Lives Matter (BLM)

    • The Two Very Different Meanings Of ‘Black Lives Matter’, By David Marcus, The Federalist
      • the term has two very distinct, if not contradictory meanings in today’s America. One is a general statement of support for civil rights; the other is a loose Marxist organization with a clear radical agenda.
    • Commentary: The Various Faces of Black Lives Matter by Robert Stilson, RealClearPolitics, June 21, 2020.
      • Black Lives Matter can mean something different depending on what part of the movement is being referenced 
      • BLM began as the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter in 2013 in wake of the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the killing of Trayvon Martin. That earliest iteration of the term was the general statement of support. But very quickly BLM became the umbrella name for a network of loosely affiliated activist groups with a very far left set of objectives. In fact one of the founders has said on video that the organization was founded by “trained Marxists.”
    • The agenda of Black Lives Matter is far different from the slogan  By Mike Gonzalez and Andrew Olivastro, New York Post, July 1, 2020
      • Many see the slogan Black Lives Matter as a plea to ­secure the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all Americans, especially historically wronged African Americans.  
      • Tragically, when they do donate, they are likely to bankroll a number of radical organizations, founded by committed Marxists whose goals aren’t to make the American Dream a reality for everyone — but to transform America completely.

(1)  “Systemic“.  Regarding implied and direct references to “systems and systemic:”   All results (successes and problems) represent outcomes from systems.  There are methods and tools for identifying, assessing, and improving systems.  These include identifying the aim (purpose, need) of the respective system, capability assessments, operational definitions of the data being used in assessments, cause and effect diagrams, affinity and Pareto charts, histograms, the five why’s, run and process behavior charts to include trend interpretation standards, and analysis of variation – common cause (normal, expected) and special cause variation (outlier, unusual, temporary) to name a few.   The Brown County Leader Network provides support for addressing systemic issues.

Local strategies – Better Government, Systems, Processes

What is becoming even more evident with the Covid related issues is a lack of trust in government and the systems and processes that are providing “We the People” with information and mandates.

o. When you have licensed and competent medical professionals who disagree on preventative and treatment-related strategies, I would like to see (if even possible these days) an objective, independent group (commission?) reconcile (mediate) the differences on our behalf. Where is there agreement? Where is there disagreement and whyt? What are their recommendations along with the associated risks? Politicizing the issue with the intent to retain or gain votes supported by the media only adds to the divisiveness and polarization in the country.

o. Our founding fathers studied and understood human nature and political systems. They recognized that individuals seek to centralize power and power always corrupts which leads to abuse, conflict, and even war (civil, national, global). Our founders designed a system of checks and balances on power that have been eroded over time. For instance, providing the governor with the ability to extend emergency powers without requiring a special session of the legislature is a law that needs to be reviewed.

o. The overall situation has been a little surreal for me. I’ve briefed senior military leaders on controversial topics. The U.S. military and our allies apply a decision making process that integrates a systemic approach that considers all available facts and data, assesses risks, and identifies the best courses of action. Once the action is taken, the situation is constantly monitored and adjusted as more information is obtained. There are also three major focus areas – what is currently happening, what may be next, and what if? Different groups work on these questions and respective strategies.

o. One of the issues that is different is that in a military context, injuries and death are an inherent part of the process. In a civilian context, facing potential mortality is something most people don’t want to think about which leads to fear, and fear leads to anger that is then leveraged by various groups to support their respective agendas.

o. Probably not much we can do in the short-term regarding the national situation, but we can support changes at the state level. At the county level, we could choose to apply better processes in making important decisions.

o. Volunteers within the community have been working to develop a framework (concept, tools, and methods) for assessing a problem, identifying the best options, and determining if and when a change results in improvement. More information at http://browncountyleadernetwork.com/

American Civics – County, State, Nation

Information Portal – explores the principles and practices
every patriotic citizen should know.

Indiana and Brown County

Nation

American Civics in the Time of Coronavirus, By Carl M. Cannon RCP Staff, April 08, 2020

  • RealClear has launched an educational portal on American Civics — this piece you are reading is its introductory essay — to give a fair accounting of the Founders and the successive generations who did their part in what Alexis de Tocqueville called “the great American experiment.”
  • … the foundation asked a series of  multiple-choice questions to a statistically valid sample of Americans – questions that are on the actual U.S. Citizenship Test. In 2018, only 36% of poll respondents could pass it. 

ABA 2020 Survey of Civic Literacy – Resources

Three Myths That Explain Why Americans Don’t Know Much About History by Natalie Wexler Education, FORBES

  • Myth #1: History is boring, dry, and useless.
  • Myth #2: Memorizing historical facts and dates is a bad idea. 
  • Myth #3: History is a developmentally inappropriate topic below the third or fourth grade.

RealClearPublicAffairs’s 1776 Series –– explains the major themes that define the American mind.

Nashville Sanitary Sewer Master Plan

Nashville Sanitary Sewer Master Plan July 15, 2020 (173 pages)

(Link to the plan on the Town’s website)

Summary of the Master Plan – Brown County Democrat

Aug 20, 2020. Town Council Meeting.  A presentation on the plan was presented. It was stated the intent was not to approve the plan at this meeting.  The consensus appeared to be that there was a valid need for system improvements and this should be the priority for Nashville. There was no documentation presented of a valid need to expand service to other areas in the county that could be served by the Nashville Plant.

July 28, 2020.  My comments about the plan – also shared at the FaceBook group – Brown County Matters. I reviewed the plan and have a few initial questions below.  I shared these with Town Council Member Nancy Crocker and referenced these questions at last month’s Town Council meeting.

The initial perception is that this is a Town centric strategy.

  • On the town’s “growth”, how many new residents were acquired as a result of annexation (pg 11)?
  • The Town has had a policy that linked annexations with sewer service.  What is the Town’s current position?
  • What is the projected cost to Nashville Sewer customers over the next 10, 20, 40-year planning cycle (pg 1) if there are no new customers, e.g., growth?  Is this information available in a spreadsheet?   Are “future demands” being overestimated to “reduce operations and maintenance costs” to Town customers and taxpayers?
  • 40-year potential and 2.50-mile radius of Nashville (pg 1).  Is the 2.50-mile radius in the current agreement with the Brown County Regional Sewer District (BCRSD)?
  • Reference to “Hill Top” Development.  Is the name “Hill Top” based on a legal description?  The majority of homes are located on Town Hill Rd, East, and West.
  • I am skeptical of the assumptions regarding population and growth projections. Did the assumptions factor in the economic impact of COVID?  What are the qualifications of the individuals guesstimating these projections?  (pg. 14-17)
  • Overall, the county has a low to moderate-income level of 53.1% (2017).  Hook-ups and higher monthly utility costs will be a burden for many.  The “target” of a monthly rate of $65.00 (pg. 37) is likely conservative.  Without growth, costs of maintenance will have to be passed on to the customer. Helmsburg customers are currently paying $92.50.   I would like to see a spreadsheet that projects revenues, costs, and monthly rates over the life cycle of the respective projects given the growth and no growth projections.  Maintenance and repair costs have to be passed on to the customers – many of which are on fixed incomes.
  • The plan references areas with failed/failing septic systems to justify a sewer expansion (pg 10, 14, section 4.3, pg.17). What is the evidence of failure?  How many systems have been identified as failing?
  • Pg 11 – typo regarding the 2018 estimated population of “18,013”?
  • On the Recommended Sewer Matrix chart (pg 28-29),  what is the supporting documentation regarding the ratings?  I live on Town Hill – I was not contacted. Residences have replaced inadequate systems with Presby’s.  What is the detail that supports these ratings?
  • Extraterritorial Zoning Ordinance (pg.3). What is this?  Does it provide the Town with the same powers that are granted to an RSD? An RSD can “force” sewer hook-up. The BCRSD has adopted this standard. Exceptions to the rule are only temporary.

July 15, 2020.  BCD.  Town developing sewer master plan, updates, expansions by Sara Clifford

  • … in 2018, the Brown County RSD vacated about a mile-and-a-half radius around town limits — basically, to the tops of the hills that surround major roads into town — in case the town ever wanted to extend sewer to those properties.
  • This draft sewer master plan includes several neighborhoods in that mile-and-a-half buffer zone as well as others, and prioritizes them, in the engineers’ opinion, according to how quickly the town should or could bring them sewer:

March 11, 2020.  BCD, Plans, fixes being made at town wastewater plant Sara Clifford

  •  Nashville now has a plan to fix the violations which the state found at its wastewater treatment plant last year. In the meantime, new customers…

Dec 4, 2019.  BCD. Town OKs major study of sewer service Sara Clifford – The Nashville Town Council has hired a firm to do a comprehensive study of Nashville’s sewer plant and operations — how the plant is…