Friday, January 30, 2009


This is a court of law, young man, not a court of justice. ~Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

Proverbs 16:6 By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the LORD men depart from evil.

The reason that I put these two quotes together is to make a point that we can not expect justice when we don't have truth. It is particularly unreasonable to see this in a courtroom where a judge is at the mercy of a couple lawyers orchestrating events. Stripped of an ability to investigate, justice can not be found.

I agree with this advice

Matthew 5: 25"Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still with him on the way, or he may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison. 26I tell you the truth, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny.[d]

Sometimes I have punished my children with mercy. In other words I explain what they did wrong, make them take responsibility, but then do not inflict any punishment. I want to let them know how it feels to receive mercy so that perhaps they will be willing to offer mercy.

Here is an interesting story of one who did not have mercy after receiving mercy

Matthew 18:23"Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand talents[g] was brought to him. 25Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.
26"The servant fell on his knees before him. 'Be patient with me,' he begged, 'and I will pay back everything.' 27The servant's master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.
28"But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii.[h] He grabbed him and began to choke him. 'Pay back what you owe me!' he demanded.
29"His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, 'Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.'
30"But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. 31When the other servants saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed and went and told their master everything that had happened.
32"Then the master called the servant in. 'You wicked servant,' he said, 'I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. 33Shouldn't you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?' 34In anger his master turned him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.

We are in a grave world crisis now and much of it deals with how we will collectively deal with our debts, the one's we owe and those who owe us. Perhaps if as children we had thought about mercy and been offered more mercy, we could make better judgments. Obviously too much mercy makes us irresponsible, too little makes us bitter. Somehow we need to blend the two together to make a healthy beverage which we can drink every day so we can have a just world.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Historical Perspective

Judge Learned Hand observed: "I venture to believe that it is as important to a judge called upon to pass on a question of constitutional law, to have at least a bowing acquaintance with Acton and Maitland, with Thucydides, Gibbon and Carlyle, with Homer, Dante, Shakespeare and Milton, with Machiavelli, Montaigne and Rabelais, with Plato, Bacon, Hume and Kant, as with the books which have been specifically written on the topic."

For your convenience I have provided links to all of these.


I have studied formally in my educational endeavors - Thycidides, Homer, Plato (in the original Greek), Machiavelli (in the original Italian-nice poetry!), Kant (in the original German-very lugubrious prose), Shakespeare (I still remember our High School class chanting verse together in an attempt to memorize-"All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players."; and Milton-Would you really rather rule in Hell than serve in heaven?

The rest I admit I had to look up to "refresh" my memory!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

All I Know About Safety

The story of Walter Marino and Christopher Marino is incredibly inspiring.

The story really encompasses so many safety lessons that I think it would be useful to review.

1. UNKNOWN HAZARDS TO AN INDIVIDUAL – The father took his child to a beach. He had been there many times. He might know of the hazard of rip currents but he did not know of the elevated hazard of rip currents around piers and jetties., “Stay at least 100 feet away from piers and jetties. Rip currents often exist along the side of fixed objects in the water.”

"We were both just sucked out,” Marino told Matt Lauer. “The forces just took us out so
quickly, it totally took me by surprise” he said.

LESSON: Be a student, constantly try to learn new safety tips.

2. HOW YOU REACT TO YOUR ERRORS IS CRUCIAL – When the father and child were swept out to sea, they resisted the temptation to fight the current. This became increasingly difficult as they were swept farther and farther out to sea. But they were in the water respectively approximately 12 and 14 hours. If they had fought the currents, it is likely they would not have survived.

3. THE WILL TO LIVE – INDIVIDUALLY AND COLLECTIVELY AND ITS PSYCHOLOGY – My favorite individual story of survival is the fellow who crashed in the desert and fought his way through heat, thirst and cactus to return safely. When asked what kept him going he replied that he was separated from his wife and the thought of her inheriting everything before his divorce was final kept him going! (SEE NOTE) Here the two individuals gathered strength from each other. Walter Marino would touch his son and communicate to him. The son, who is autistic, shared with father his lack of fear. All the son knew was that he was on an adventure. The two in their own way supported each other.

4. NEVER GIVE UP HOPE – Really, it was implausible that the two would survive. What is amazing is that the boat that picked them up was late. The boat had not planned to be there at that time – it was sheer luck that the father was spotted. But that is how survival works. If we keep trying we get lucky.

5. SURVIVAL IS NOT AN INDIVIDUAL EFFORT, BUT A GROUP EFFORT. After Walter Marino was rescued the team went to work to find his son. The boat had a GPS which allowed them to pinpoint their location (High Tech equipment has a pay-off, always consider spending money on safety) The Coast Guard was ready. Armed with the information about Walter Marino’s location, they went to work. Sometimes we forget just how many people are saved by the professional and heroic efforts of emergency response. As a safety professional, I always want to ensure that emergency response is well-funded.

NOTE: As I mentioned in my blog entry,, I encountered many heroes during my military career. The teller of this tale was Colonel Nick Rowe, a leader, an inspiration, and tragically one who died too soon from an enemy combattant.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

One day of Smelling the Roses

Today at work as I was collaborating with my friend, we took a moment to read a few jokes. It was great to get a laugh, so at least for a day I was following my resolution. I did remember a few weeks ago. My son when he wakes up, he goes down the stairs and he looks for me. When he sees me, he starts laughing and smiling and he runs over to me. We usually share a few moments of play. I tickle him and wrestle with him. He likes to climb under blankets and laugh and giggle. I remember just looking at him and really enjoying the moment of sharing that time. During the week when I am wrapped up with work and projects, it really is nice to look back and think about the moment we shared.
It is funny how little things are remembered. I remember at my High School we had a Japanese exchange student. I remembered her name since it sounded like, "you gotta meet he(r)" One day she had brought in some sea weed cookies and being the exotic eater (in Elementary School we occasionally had chocolate covered ants and candied cattepillars passed around) I tried it. In my year book, she commented that just as we had shared the cookie, we had shared a year in High School. So it has reinforced to me that little things can make a lasting impression.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Stop to Smell the Roses

Well, to start off the new year (I could do a good blog entry on a discussion of the new year, but unless requested, will defer) with one of many resolutions. It occurred to me that when I was a bit low on cash, I lived on Lake Tahoe. As I would pass a scenic overlook, I would pull off the road just for a few minutes because I could look down and see something similar to this
Refreshed, I would continue my journey. I hope to find a place near where I work to do something similar, I will keep my eyes open. I do know some nice places in the valleys and ridge lines in Pennsylvania. There is one little restaurant at 2000 feet that is nice to be in better weather because you can eat steak sandwiches for about $5 and look down the 2000 feet unto the valley below.

This last summer I went to Shenandoah National Park. Here is a nice scene here:
So I would like to do a daily entry but will be satisfied with weekly entries.