Stephen Covey, author of the mega-seller, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, died Monday at the age of 79.
Back in the summer of 1993, I was fortunate to sit in on a “7 Habits” training that Covey himself kicked off with a 3-hour session. We got star treatment because the Secretary of Energy, Hazel O’Leary, brought the entire senior staff of the Department of Energy out to the Milliken Institute for training in total quality management.
Coincidentally, I had just finished the manuscript for my book Lean and Clean Management: How to Boost Profits and Productivity by Reducing Pollution, which discusses TQM and its intimate relationship with pollution prevention. You can buy copies here for as little as 10 cents plus shipping! I believe it is still a good book on systems thinking; in any case, it was that manuscript that got me an invite to the training even though I was just a newly-hired Special Assistant for Policy and Planning to Deputy Secretary Bill White.
Covey was awesome. He was a genuinely optimistic and passionate person who cared about people. I spent about an hour yesterday looking through a dozen boxes to find my notes, but while I found my date book that shows I attended this in August 1993, I may have written the notes on a handout and not a notebook, which means it will take me a lot longer to find assuming I still have it.
I distinctly remember Covey talking about his limp, but I can’t remember the details, which I have found online here. Covey loved athletics in school, but then got “slipped epiphysis, which is a deterioration of the thigh and hip bone during the growth process.” That put him in crutches starting in junior high school. The result:
“It totally shifted me from athletics to academics, which I’m grateful for now. So it turned out to be a blessing in my life; but the time, you know, I thought my life was about over, particularly when I was told I had to go on crutches for a full year. Then I tried to get back fast, too fast, and I was impatient, and I had to do that like over again for an entire year! Then it went to my next leg…. But anyway, that totally changed my approach to academics, and I began to love learning for its own sake.?
The rest, as they say, is history. This is, as Shakespeare put it in Romeo and Juliet, “adversity’s sweet milk.”
The 7 Habits is one of the few self-help books I would recommend without hesitation because it is based on examining what the most effective people do. And what the most effective people do is act systematically. Covey’s approach to analyzing what the best people was one of the inspirations for my new book — out next month — in which I examine what the most effective communicators do. If course, they use a system also: rhetoric.
The 7 habits are ones that everyone would be wise to follow, but because they are systems oriented — and because they are aimed at bringing about change — they have a particular value for climate hawks who want to change the energy system in time to preserve a livable eco-system. Here is the short version of them (with my additions in parentheses and links to Covey’s longer description of them):
SELF-MASTERY (independent systems thinking)
INTERDEPENDENCE (working with others systematically)
These may seem obvious. But as is the case with most self-help advice the trick is actually doing them. Every day. Clearly they represent the essence of what it means to be a climate hawk. We all start with the end in mind — avoiding catastrophic global warming. The only way to avoid catastrophic warming is to act proactively, before it happens. And that means we need to prioritize aka deploy, deploy, deploy.
The best climate solutions are win-win, particularly energy efficiency, which is the only reason there’s any chance we might actually avert catastrophe: They have myriad co-benefits. Habit 5 is about the best kind of communication, and Habit 6 defines the kind of political action that is needed.
Since none of us is doing a good enough job now, we all need to continuously improve, but also, as Covey noted, we need “a balanced program for self-renewal in the four areas of your life: physical, social/emotional, mental, and spiritual.” Thinking about climate change 24/7 is not a sustainable strategy, I can assure you from personal experience!
Indeed, the whole raison d’ętre of climate hawks is to avoid a future where everybody is forced to think about climate change 24/7 because it has ruined a livable climate, forcing everyone into a “scarcity mentality,” which Covey hated because it represents a “zero-sum paradigm of life.”
Stephen Covey will be missed.
by Andrew Freedman, via Climate Central
As the climate has warmed during the past several decades, there has been a growing imbalance between record daily high temperatures in the contiguous U.S. and record daily lows. A study published in 2009 found that rather than a 1-to-1 ratio, as would be expected if the climate were not warming, the ratio has been closer to 2-to-1 in favor of warm temperature records during the past decade (2000-2009). This finding cannot be explained by natural climate variability alone, the study found, and is instead consistent with global warming.
When you look at individual years, the imbalance can be more stark. For example, through late June 2012, daily record highs were outnumbering record daily lows by a ratio of 9-to-1.The study used computer models to project how the records ratios might shift in future decades as the amount of greenhouse gases in the air continues to increase. The results showed that the ratio of daily record highs to daily record lows in the lower 48 states could soar to 20-to-1 by mid-century, and 50-to-1 by 2100.
Andrew Freedman is the Senior Science Writer for Climate Central. This piece was originally published at Climate Central and was reprinted with permission.
When a cousin of George Zimmerman, the killer of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, accused him of sexual molestation, Zimmerman’s lawyers were dismissive of the charge. Defense attorney Mark O?Mara immediately attempted to discredit the young woman, telling the Miami Herald she tried to sell her story to People magazine.
The Miami Herald reporter checked with People and tweeted today, “People magazine tells me Zimmerman’s cousin never approached them for money or a story.”
“Witness 9,” as the woman is named in evidence, detailed several incidents where Zimmerman allegedly touched her or forced her to touch him. The molestation started when she was 12 years old and continued for ten years. Trayvon Martin’s attorneys are attempting to get this evidence admitted into court, as the woman’s testimony could show Zimmerman has an alleged “history of violence and manipulation.” Zimmerman’s attorneys are trying to block the testimony, arguing that it would hurt his chances for a fair trial.
The Zimmerman defense has been plagued with dishonesty. Zimmerman’s wife was arrested for perjury in June after lying on the stand about the couple’s finances. Zimmerman himself also misled the court about his finances and hid the fact that he had a second passport, leading the judge to revoke his bond.
Utah’s Pink Dot campaign, with the credo “Support, Love, Courage,” seeks to bring together allies of the LGBT community to create more inclusive communities throughout the state. The campaign is now organizing its September event with a very touching video featuring friends and family members struggling to voice their support for their gay and lesbian loved ones. Watch it:
Global bank HSBC enabled money laundering from Mexican drug cartels, funneled money to Iranian organizations despite government sanctions against the country, and was used by Saudi Arabian banks with ties to terrorist organizations, according to a Senate committee report released Monday. The bank’s executives and its regulators at the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency “ignored warning signs and failed to stop the illegal behavior at many points between 2001 and 2010,” the New York Times reported.
HSBC, Europe’s largest financial institution, ignored inside warnings about its transactions with Iran and other sanctioned countries, and the OCC ignored the behavior even after it was uncovered:
When the bank developed a way to process transactions for Iran?s largest retail bank, an HSBC executive wrote an e-mail to his colleagues that said, ?I wish to be on the record as not comfortable with this piece of business.? None of his colleagues responded and the deal went ahead, according to the report.
The subcommittee also found evidence of widespread wrongdoing in HSBC?s failure to stop money laundering through accounts tied to drug trafficking in Mexico. The bank is accused of shipping $7 billion in cash from Mexico to the United States in 2007 and 2008 despite several warnings that the money was coming from cartels that needed a way to return their profits to the United States.
In many of the cases detailed in the report, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency is said to have spotted the problematic behavior. But in nearly every case, the subcommittee found that the agency gave HSBC only a warning or mild punishment and did not push the bank to make large-scale changes.
The report’s author, Michigan Sen. Carl Levin (D), is skeptical of the bank’s expected apology at a Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations hearing today. ?While the bank is saying all the right things, and that is fine, it has said all the right things before,? Levin said. Both HSBC’s new chief executive and OCC head Thomas Curry, who joined the agency in April, are said to be promoting stricter enforcement atmospheres at their institutions.
The HSBC report is the latest in a recent run of scandals at the world’s largest financial institutions. The LIBOR rate-rigging scandal at Barclays has led to scrutiny, and potential lawsuits, from both American and British lawmakers, and JP Morgan Chase recently disclosed that its employees attempted to cover up trades that went wrong in the “London Wale” deal that has cost the bank billions of dollars.
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Here we go again with more birther nonsense from "The Donald" on this Monday's Fox & Friends: Trump: Romney shouldn't turn over tax records until Obama reveals college transcript:
Mitt Romney surrogate Donald Trump said Monday that the Republican presidential hopeful should refrain from turning over additional tax records unless President Obama reveals his college transcripts.
"You talk about transparency," Trump told Fox News. "We will learn more about Obama when we look at those college applications than any other thing that can happen. I don?t think Romney should give anything until such time as Obama gives his college records and applications.?
Romney has resisted calls from the Obama campaign to release more than a years' worth of tax returns, although pressure has been intensifying as new questions arise over his tenure at Bain Capital. Trump said Monday the Obama campaign had done "a great job" in crafting attack ads against Romney.
?They?re trying to make a man whose done a great job look very bad. And they are using deceit, they are using lies and I think Mitt is going to fight back very hard," Trump said. "You know, they are talking about tax returns ? I mean, look, you know this, I?ve been saying it for a very long time, Obama should give his college applications and records."
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Mitch McConnell (Reuters/Jonathan Ernst)This is rich, in an unbelievable can-he-really-be-that-hypocritical kind of way. Here's Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Democratic threats to let the Bush tax cuts expire and the automatic spending cuts kick in at the end of the year:
?This is what passes for governance among Democrats these days: put the American people up against a wall, pick their pockets, and hope that in the midst of the scuffle they blame it?and the recession that would follow?on Republicans,? McConnell said.Gosh, that sounds awfully familiar. How many times have Republicans taken the nation's economy hostage in hopes of wrecking it and President Obama's hopes of reelection? That was on extending unemployment benefits, on giving middle-class taxpayers a bit of a break with the payroll tax holiday, on the things that actually put a little bit of extra money into the pockets of everyday Americans.
That's not all, though. McConnell also says:
?I don?t think playing Russian roulette with the economy is a smart thing to do,? the Kentuckian said Monday night on ?On the Record with Greta Van Susteren.? ?We need to be responsible here. Everybody knows what we need to do at the end of the year. We need not to raise anybody?s taxes, particularly we do not want to raise taxes on almost a million of our most important and effective small businesses.?Let's take a short trip back in time, to when Republicans were ready to let the country go into default, and McConnell's strategy then.
I think some of our members may have thought the default issue was a hostage you might take a chance at shooting. Most of us didn't think that. What we did learn is this?it's a hostage that's worth ransoming. And it focuses the Congress on something that must be done.Remember what happened when they were holding the debt ceiling hostage for ransom? How the U.S. credit rating was downgraded for the first time in history? That was worth ransoming for McConnell. But talking about letting tax rates revert to the levels they were at during the Clinton boom years is "Russian roulette."
McConnell sure has made it clear where his loyalties lie.
Do you think Mitt Romney should release his tax returns for the last 12 years, or not?Those numbers speak for themselves. Despite Mitt Romney's refusal to release any tax returns at all before 2010, voters want him to meet the standard set by his father?the release of 12 years worth of returns. President Obama has already met that standard and with Romney's refusing to follow suit, we can only guess at the reasons why.
He should: 56
He should not: 34
Whatever those reasons are, Romney has clearly calculated that releasing the returns would cause more damage than hiding them. Judging by the fact that a solid majority favors disclosure, those returns must not look good for Mittens.
There's a partisan skew to these numbers, of course, with Democrats overwhelmingly favoring disclosure and Republicans opposing it. But as David Axelrod points out, the poll shows that independents are squarely on the side of releasing the documents:
One very interesting note is that the income group most supportive of disclosure were people earning over $100,000 per year. The sample size there is pretty small, but at the very least it's a reminder that this isn't a "class warfare" issue. This is about disclosure versus secrecy.
We also asked whether voters thought Mitt Romney should release documents about his overseas investments in places like Switzerland and Bermuda. A similar margin?56 percent to 36 percent?favored disclosure.
As always, you can read the full crosstabs here. Overall, according to the poll, President Obama holds a two point lead over Mitt Romney.
After three months of ugly job growth, poor retail sales, missed inflation targets and forecasts of minimal economic growth (most analysts reduced their estimate to around 1.1% for the second quarter of 2012), Ben Bernanke finally announced his[...]
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