The Quality of Respect

Respect determines the quality of relationships

Respect determines the quality of relationships

I have had a few instances of being told I was right. These typically come years after the fact when the acknowledgement is almost meaningless regarding the original idea, issue, or choice. The irony is that the issue discussed years ago is irrelevant, but how the person responded to my idea or concern established the quality of our relationship.

Years of interactions with people through work, social, and personal experiences has taught me that relationships are defined by the quality of respect the two people have for each other. Communication is about sharing information and being correct or not about an issue is secondary to the quality of the relationship. We are not taught that in school, but it is something learned as patterns develop with the people in our social circles.

The way a person responds to our ideas and concerns defines the quality of respect they have for who we are as a person, and that defines the relationship.

Dismissive Response
A dismissive response is the lowest form of respect to a person. Adults often are dismissive of children, and that is a valid description of the relationship between two adults when one is dismissive or condescending to another person. The classic, “Let’s just agree to disagree” is a great example of a dismissive response. If this is happening in a work relationship it means that your value to that person is nonexistent and that you should be seeking a different work environment.

In a personal relationship it means that you are a pet or child to the person and you should take action to get them out of your life. Once a person treats you as an inferior, others will model that and everyone around you will devalue your relationship with them.

Deflective Response
The next lowest form of respect is when someone is deflective or derogatory to you when you express concern about an issue. This behavior can be recognized by responses that begin with or include the following:

“You’ve always disliked. ..” or “You don’t know for sure that…” or “Here you go again…”

The point here is that the person is not responding to your concern, just devaluing you and anything you have to say. It is a close cousin to a dismissive response, but the person feels a need to answer your concern, even though the answer is actually an insult to your intelligence.

Illogical Response
Another close relative of the Dismissive Response is the Illogical Response. It is the type of response that has the appearance of a discussion of two people who mutually respect each other; however, the response is often a desperate attempt to suggest Point A is negated by Point B, but in reality Point A has nothing to do with Point B.

An example of this is if Ryan is saying that a school’s quality is on the decline because some of the best teachers in a school are leaving and Barbara counters by saying the school has a great reputation for the quality of education. Barbara’s argument is based on past performance, but Evan’s argument is talking about current and future performance.

Respectful Discussion
The hallmark of any valid discussion is the respect the people involved have for each other. When both people respect each other every attempt will be made to reach a reasonable solution because the relationship is more important than the argument.

Finally, when someone comes back to you years after a discussion and tells you that you were correct, it really is about admitting the lack of respect they had for you, and they are attempting to recognize their error. Never assume that they have found a new respect for you because respect is not a quality that returns once it has been lost.

1 Comment

Filed under Customer Relations, Customer Service, Employee Retention, Ethics, Human Resources, Lessons of Life, Management Practices, Membership Retention, Politics, Public Relations, Relationships, Respect

Earthbound Astronauts

Everyday I have the pleasure of joining the International Space Station (ISS) orbiting 250 miles (400 km) above Earth. This is possible because NASA has high-definition (HD) cameras that stream live video of Earth from the International Space Station. The public may connect to this video stream from the comfort of their home with a DSL or higher Internet service. This makes it possible for millions of people to have the view of Earth from space without having to experience liftoff, special toilets, re-entry, and landing.

Streaming image below is a live video feed from the International Space Station.

Broadcast live streaming video on Ustream

Courtesy of NASA TV
Click on the ‘Play’ button to begin live streaming from ISS. (If screen is all black, ISS is on night side of Earth)

This “experiment” began in April 2014, and is meant to test the equipment needed for continuous video streaming from a space environment. It is one ISS experiment that makes us part of the ISS crew and allows us to enjoy their view of Earth almost anytime we desire.

You can watch this video feed:

  1. Above on this page.
  2. On NASA TV (click on the text to go there now.)
  3. Through an application (app) on your phone or tablet.

Some things to note:

  • Each orbit takes approximately 90 minutes and about 30 minutes of each orbit is on the night side of Earth, therefore the screen may be all black.
  • ISS loses streaming signal several times during each orbit when it is out of range of equipped Earth-based communication centers.
  • Cameras and/or angles can change.

If you want to know where ISS is over Earth go to the following link:  ISS Tracking Map

Screen shot images from the ISS HD cameras:

View from ISS as it flies over the Bering Strait area

View from ISS as it flies over the Bering Strait area

Looking southeast as ISS flies over the Northern Pacific

Looking southeast as ISS flies over the Northern Pacific

Looking straight down at the Pacific Ocean

Looking straight down at the Pacific Ocean

View to the northwest as ISS slides into night over Chile

View to the northwest as ISS slides into night over Chile (two Soyuz spacecraft docked)

Leave a comment

Filed under Communication, Government, Internet, Science, Space, Technology, Travel

Paul Ryan: A Loser’s Legacy

Paul Ryan can now add Speaker of the House of Representatives to the list of failures. His new position is a trap with no exit and in six to eight months he will realize the mistake he has made, but it will be too late.

Paul Ryan, helped Mitt Romney lose in 2012

Going with a loser for Speaker of the House of Representatives, Paul Ryan

Representative Ryan has a history of association with failure:

  • He joined Senator Bob Kasten staff as a legislative aide in 1992. A few months later Senator Kasten failed to be reelected.
  • He was the speech writer for Jack Kemp, the Republican Vice Presidential candidate in 1996. The Bob Dole/Jack Kemp ticket lost.
  • In 2012, Ryan was selected to be the Republican Vice Presidential candidate for Mitt Romney. He was noted to be the farthest from center of any Vice Presidential candidate, conservative or liberal, since at least 1900. The Romney/Ryan ticket lost.
  • Ryan has been a Representative for Wisconsin since 1998. In that time he as sponsored over 70 bills of which only two have been enacted into law. He was successful in having a Post Office in his District renamed and he was able to have the excise tax reduced on arrow shafts.

Ryan has enjoyed comfortable wins in all of his election wins since 1998, although in 2012, corporations built him a $5.4 million campaign chest, (as of July 25, 2012,) the largest of any congressional candidate, and though he won with 55% of the vote in the district, he only garnered 44% of the vote in his hometown of Janesville, Wisconsin. His district is 90% Caucasian, and has elected the Republican candidate for the last twenty years.

Ryan is also a disciple of Ayn Rand, a writer, philosopher, and playwright that was born and raised in Russia to a aristocratic family that fell from privileged life after the Russian Revolution. Her philosophy of Objectivism assumes that only the people who are currently successful should enjoy the spoils of life and everyone else should not have access to the opportunities of the privileged. This concept is eagerly accepted by the wealthy conservatives who fund campaigns of candidates that seek to substitute our nation’s founders concept of ‘All Being Equal’ with Ayn Rand’s philosophy of a society ruled by privilege.

“They (Native Americans) didn’t have any rights to the land, and there was no reason for anyone to grant them rights which they had not conceived and were not using. What was it that they were fighting for, when they opposed white men on this continent? For their wish to continue a primitive existence, their ‘right’ to keep part of the earth untouched, unused and not even as property, but just keep everybody out so that you will live practically like an animal, or a few caves above it. Any white person who brings the element of civilization has the right to take over this continent.”

Ayn Rand, 1974

There is no doubt that Ryan will continue to be loyal to the extreme right. He is immune to his record of failures in carrying the flag of conservative ideology. 

That makes Ryan the wrong person to put in charge of the House of Representatives. Former Speaker John Boehner was pushed into a corner by the House Freedom Caucus that has paralyzed the House. The Freedom Caucus is a anti-United States band of Representatives from rural districts of Caucasian majority, anti-education, ultra-religious, government-hating voters. The caucus has less than forty Representatives pushing an agenda that is sometimes racist, often disgusting, and always wrong.

Speaker Boehner failed to put this collection of misfits in their place and that led to his resignation. By not accepting the reality that Republicans are in the minority, and that by adding the House Freedom Caucus to gain a majority, Speaker Boehner allowed a third-party of Representatives to pull down the GOP to the level of political masturbation.

Enter Paul Ryan. Speaker Ryan will cater to the House Freedom Caucus which will continue to be a drag on the support of the Republican party. Eventually, Republicans will have to decide whether they can afford to be associated a party that creates a public image of clowns and buffoons. As the 2016 election approaches Speaker Ryan will likely be the leader of an angry mob of Republicans who will be fed up with the shenanigans of a handful of Representatives that he has allowed to ruin the party.

Paul Ryan, Speaker of the House 2015 to 2016.

Leave a comment

Filed under Ethics, Government, Politics, Public Image, Religion, Taxes

If I Were Speaker of the House of Representatives

House of Representatives

This House is Out of Order

It seems that Paul Ryan (R-WI,) has the bid to be the Speaker of the House of Representatives sewn up, but before anyone makes a significant mistake, allow me to offer myself as the alternative choice.

As Speaker, I can guarantee you that the dignity of the United States House of Representatives will be restored. To accomplish this, the following steps will be taken on Day One:

  1. The 38 members of House Freedom Caucus will be declared to be a neo-Republican party, independent of the Republican Party. Anyone joining their caucus will also be declared to be neo-Republicans.
  2. The House will be divided into three parties. The Republicans, the Democrats, and the neo-Republicans. Each will have their own leadership.
  3. Congressional committees will be all be reorganized with the two largest parties determining who will be given a proportional number of members on all committees If a third-party caucus has enough representatives to equal or exceed fifty percent or more of the of the second largest party, the majority leaders of the two largest parties will vote to select one Representative from the third-party to sit on that committee. 
  4. When Congress is in session, the leadership of the two largest parties will meet the first day of the week for breakfast to determine the agenda and issues to be addressed that week. 

That’s it. Four steps to put the House of Representatives in motion again.

The House Freedom Caucus:  The Rotten Apples in the House
The problem in the House is not bad politicians. There have always been bad politicians and always will be in almost every form of government. The problem is that the Republicans have let the worst 38 Representatives to determine what does and does not get done. The have let the House Freedom Caucus bring down everyone to their level because the Republican leadership knows that if they lose the support of these 38 members, they lose their majority.

What the Republicans don’t understand is that they are on the verge of allowing the House Freedom Party destroy the GOP if they don’t rid themselves of these 38 members (36 according to the Pew Research Center.) Here are the members according to Wikipedia and the Pew Research Center:

Rural Districts Running America

Congressional District map for Freedom Caucus membership of the 114th Congress

Congressional District map for Freedom Caucus membership of the 114th Congress (Credit: Wikipedia Commons)

These 38 are Representatives of primarily rural Congressional districts that often feel impotent in the political arena. Residents of rural areas find that their simplistic, socially conservative, sometimes racist, ultra-religious, anti-education view of the United States of America is often ignored because it is contrary to the Constitution and laws of our country. Despite this, residents of rural areas often see themselves as superior to urban residents, even though they lack the knowledge to make informed opinions. This makes them easy targets for unethical politicians to win their vote because rural voters typically listen only to what they wish to hear.  

NEXT:  Paul Ryan’s Legacy of Failure

Leave a comment

Filed under Education, Ethics, Government, Government Regulation, Higher Education, History, Honor, Politics, Religion, Respect, Taxes, US History

Living in the Imminent

international-space-station-completeSix people near death 

Don’t they know?

They show no fear

They have to know.

They live surrounded by a monster that kills without effort

Yes, in this millisecond they live in peace

In the next they could die in horror

We have no reason to fear walking outside

But these six

They should have reason

Death awaits outside with the tools of the universe

Radiation, heat, cold, or even nothing can kill

These six live where no one should

Yet, these six rob Death

These six live flawlessly where perfection matters

These six know Death and know his tools

Yes, these six know and know the risk

Just before sunrise or just after sunset

We watch them go by

We walk outside and watch them go by

For them, sunrise comes, sunset goes many times a day

But rarely do they go outside to watch

They know what is waiting outside

They know the risk

And three by three they will come and go

Three to rob death, three to come home

Three to look up to, and three to celebrate

Six people near death

But alive and well

Leave a comment

Filed under Government, Honor, Passionate People, Pride, Random, Science, Space, Technology, Travel

2016: Oil Prices Near $5/Gallon?

Oil prices have more excuses than a meth addict. Demand in China, oil refinery fires or in maintenance, OPEC restricting supply, Saudi Arabia flooding the market, etc. Reality in oil pricing is elusive; however, despite what some experts say, next year will likely see the price at the pump jump based on current factors and on politics.

Minor Influence:  Supply and Demand
We have always been told that supply and demand rules the capitalistic market. Most people mistakenly assume that free market means the market can’t be manipulated, but a free market is ripe for manipulation, especially for the unethical business person.

A prime example of market manipulator is Saudi Arabia. Big oil producers are constantly seeking a bigger piece of the oil market, and fracking in the United States has revitalized US oil production. The Saudi response has been to flood the market with oil to bring down the price/barrel, leaving US producers with increased expenses and less revenue.

World oil supply carefully follows demand (Graphics credit:

Graphic 1.0:  World oil supply carefully follows demand (Source:

Despite temporary manipulations of the oil supply, the ratio of world supply and demand has not significantly changed in recent history. Demand has steadily increased (See Graphic 1.0,) and supply has increased just slightly less than demand. In fact, the supply of oil carefully follows demand so perfectly that it seems unnatural. It’s almost as if oil companies knew that an over supply would force oil prices down and oil shortages would lead to high gas prices, which would stimulate the development of alternative fuels.

Monthly imported crude oil price (1980 to 2014) Source: Energy Information Administration (

Graphic 2.0:  Monthly imported crude oil price (1980 to 2014) Source: Energy Information Administration (

There is no obvious correlation when comparing the wild deviations in crude oil price (See Graphic 2.0) to the world supply and demand (See Graphic 1.0.) This raises the question: If supply and demand doesn’t control the price of oil in the United States, what does?

US and Europe Oil Demand

Graphic 3.0:  US and Europe Oil Demand. The 2008 recession-triggered a drop in demand (Source:

The Game of Oil Pricing
World oil demand has been on the increase, but not in the United States and Western Europe (See Graphic 3.0.) The Recession of 2008, pushed demand down in the United States and Western Europe, but as the world economy collapsed, the price of crude oil rocketed up, then dropped dramatically for six months, then returned to its pre-recession price and resumed a steep climb for the next five years. The price of crude oil didn’t coincide with pre-recession, recession, or post recession demand.

Interestingly, retail gas prices (See Graphic 4.0) make even less sense than crude oil prices, as the price at the pump spiked while crude oil prices dropped. This deviation between crude oil prices and retail gas prices would be repeated, in 2012. The common denominator? The Presidential election. 

Some experts are saying oil prices will remain low in 2016. The problem with these predictions are that the demand for oil is increasing, Republicans are self-destructing, and the economy is in good shape. Low prices at the pump in 2016, would be death to Republicans, and that is not what conservatives in the oil industry do in an election year.

October 2008 and 2012 pricing show a dramatic deviation from past years

Graphic 4.0:  October 2008 and 2012 pricing show a dramatic deviation from past years (Source

Since 1980, oil pricing just prior to Presidential elections in the United States follows an interesting pattern. According to the Energy Information Administration ( the average retail regular unleaded price has a strong correlation to the  imported crude oil prices; however, during the last two Presidential election years, the October retail price jumped dramatically, while crude oil prices fell (See Graphic 4.0.) The rare deviation in the price of retail regular unleaded gasoline just before an election again indicates that the market was influenced by political, not free-market, forces. 

Oil pricing during Presidential election year follows a consistent pattern

Graphic 5.0:  Oil pricing during Presidential election year follows a consistent pattern

As 2016, is another election year, and as the Republican party is in deep trouble, the conservative leadership in the oil industry will likely follow the past pattern of attempting to create an economic crisis through manipulation of retail oil prices. Based on the Presidential election years since 1980, the average at-the-pump price of regular unleaded (See Graphic 5.0) will be about $270/barrel or around $4.91/gal.

(NOTE:  Personally, it’s hard to believe we could see $4.91/gallon next October. Despite what the trendlines suggest, I would expect the price to be closer to an average of $4.50/gallon. However, I’m confident that the average price of regular unleaded gas will be over $4.25/gallon.)

Leave a comment

Filed under About Reno, Business, Ethics, Government, History, Management Practices, Politics, US History

Why Blog? Why Not? Six Reasons

Why Blog?

Because it’s there.

Blogging is the sand castle of writing, but waves don't wash it away

Blogging is the sand castle of writing, but waves don’t wash it away

  1. Blogging is not a path to fame or fortune. If you think people are going to hang on your every blog post, you will likely be disappointed. If you think your blog is going to change the world, you will likely be disappointed. If you think people are going to pay you to write, you will likely be disappointed.
  2. Blogging is the opportunity to write. Like dance, or acting, or painting, blogging is a creative art. The more you write, the better your skills. The more skilled, the more satisfying.
  3. Blogging is expression. It is a public diary that exposes who you are and what you think. If you try to be someone you’re not, you likely will be embarrassed.
  4. Blogging is long term. If your measure of success is the number of readers who read yesterday’s blog, you probably shouldn’t blog. The Internet is a library and Google is the librarian. Five years from now someone may search for information and discover your blog is exactly what they needed. That is success. Remember, your blog is one among billions, but time is without measure.
  5. Blogging is about legacy. Your children’s children will have the opportunity to get to know you through your blog. It will expose them to your mind and your passions. Somewhere down the ancestry line will be a grandchild or great-grandchild who thinks exactly like you, and they will treasure the opportunity to get to know themselves through your writing.
  6. Blogging is about finding yourself. Writing down our internal discussions can be revealing. We may not fully understand our values and who we are until it comes back to us in our own words.

Most people cannot fathom why anyone would blog, but if you blog, you are not ‘most people.’ That alone should reassure you of the value of blogging.

1 Comment

Filed under About Reno, Branding, Communication, Generational, Health, Information Technology, Internet, Lessons of Life, Passionate People, Photography, Public Image, Public Relations, Social Interactive Media (SIM), Social Media Relations, Technology