Tuesday, July 17, 2012

A Piece of the Action

 I am moved to apoplexy by the latest utterance by our president. There is a germ of truth in it – a germ. What about hard work, initiative and ingenuity?

I spent practically an entire career as a contract programmer. The fancy word for that is Consultant. I worked from contract to contract. When a contract was nearing completion I had to find another contract. Yes I did use contractor placement companies – but they got paid for finding me that contract. They, deservedly, got a piece of the action. 

On occasion I went without a contract between jobs. I even took unemployment a couple of times. However I paid into unemployment when I was working. The government: City, State or Federal never found me a job.  I had a network of colleagues who helped immensely – and I helped them whenever I could. It works both ways.

If I needed to I hired subcontractors. When I had more work than I could handle, or I did not have the specific skills needed I brought in a subcontractor. In this case I took a piece of their action.

As to the government – they provided the roads and services that I used to do my job. They, obviously, took a piece of the action. It’s called tax.  I took every legal deduction I could and still paid income taxes. In addition I paid sales tax, gasoline tax as well as lots of others taxes and fees

However, Mr. President – It was my technical ability and work ethic that provided a decent income for my family. My wife worked very hard as well. She was able to cover our medical insurance giving me the freedom to work this way.  As a team we built our life that we now enjoy.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

What is the role of Government?

Before I begin let me say that I am NOT a lawyer. I am educated, I read and I think. I believe that I am entitled to my opinions, which follow:
The first salvo of the Civil War was fired at Washington’s first cabinet meeting when Jefferson and Hamilton sat down at the same table. That war continues to this day. The question that has been endlessly discussed is “What is the role of government?”
We all agree that the government’s role is protection of its citizens. Where does that role begin and end and who do we define as the “protected?”  One point of view has it that government has a responsibility to insure that the individual is protected in a daily manner from, among other sources, the inroads of commercial dependence. Food quality for a start and protection from unwelcome ideas is the common end.
I disagree – an educated electorate can make these decisions. Who is responsible for the education[i]? These, as well as most other decisions, are the responsible at the state level. The Founding Parents[ii] established our nation as a representative republic. We are a federation of 50 independent states, each one signing over some of the responsibilities of government to the federal government.  As I understand it those powers not specifically given to the federal government remain the property of the states. The 10th Amendment to the constitution specifically states:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

Sensitive topics as Education and Birth Control are clearly the property of the individual states. Therefore when I say that I disagree with Roe V. Wade I am not making a stand against abortion but saying that the decision[iii] resides at the state level. I think that the argument that abortion is murder does not apply. Murder is not a federal crime, but rather a crime defined at the state level[iv]. As far as business activities go, incorporation is controlled at the state level.
Ah but you disagree with me. This is fine and good. As I said we have a long and sometimes violent history of disagreement. If we disagree and discuss it civilly we both, perhaps, learn. Frequently the truth resides between the disparate arguments.  Voltaire said,  "I disagree strongly with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."  That is what the 1st Amendment means.  If you are a thinking adult you will probably disagree with a lot of what I say. Email[v] me and lets discuss it.

[i] Parents?
[ii] Ok, a bit of political correctness.
[iii] Obviously I am not a lawyer. I am an educated citizen and therefore entitled to my opinion, as you are yours.
[iv] Unless you kill someone in DC????
[v] Again hflomberg@gmail.com

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Is this a death sentence for me?

I've been glued to the news for the last few hours. There is a lot going on today. One program had a panel of doctors discussing the new law. A urologist made the point that the primary test for prostrate cancer (PSA) is not covered.  His comment was that a urologist was not on the panel that established the guidelines.

Why does this concern me? I have End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD). I am on dialysis multiple times a week.  Without dialysis I will die.  This is an expensive process. I am over 65 as well. Will some non-medical panel decide that it is too expensive to keep me alive and recommend me for end of life counseling?

Kaiser announced a rate increase a few minutes ago. No one knows what will happen. 

Just curious 


Friday, March 30, 2012

Who do I choose to believe, Obama or Bolton?

Apparently the Israeli agreement with Azerbaijan was a military secret. This secret was leaked to the press by the Obama staff. 

So, as I understand it, we gave information to an enemy state - Iran - which can hurt an ally - Israel - ?

Or am I missing something

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Pure conjecture with no proof whatsoever!

If the inevitable happens and President Obama becomes a one term President I fear that that  the radical African-American faction will riot in the streets.

I have no proof, no evidence - as I say in the headline, this is pure conjecture. However look at the garbage being spouted over the unfortunate recent incident. We have seen rewards being offered, wanted dead or alive posters, all without any real evidence.

I think (again opinion) there is a faction in this country that is looking for a reason to riot. The defeat of the President just might be all it takes.

Damn I pray that I am wrong

Saturday, March 24, 2012

On Pamela Geller

How many of you read the title of this post and started seething? Good. I enjoy reading her blog Atlas Shrugs. Just that name makes more of you seethe.  I admire the lady. She stands up for what she believes in and "damn the consequences."  I don't always agree with her - but that is a good thing.  She makes me think!

Her last set of columns made me angry, though. She is described as being ...
Tanned, sporting plenty of makeup and speaking with a pronounced New York accent
May I note that none of the men speaking were complimented on their choice of neckties. Comments like that detract from her message. Either she is taken lightly because she is a woman, or the writer, cannot deal with her message.

Haven't we outgrown this?

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Ethical Pragmatism

I guess it's time to get the mind working, good morning all.

First of all I need to thank the wonderful folks at AITP (nee DPMA). I did a Keynote address the other night. The discussion was delightful. The pre-dinn,er address Roberta Gamza got the minds going and was great. While the crowd was small - the level of discussion was high. I'd like to thank the chapter president - Randall Storm. Randy is an old and dear friend.

I was asked,?"What do I do?" I've been thinking about that and I finally had the nerve to say it out loud. I am a Management Philosopher. I do hope that doesn't sound too pompous.

Most of us look at the industry and ask how. How did we get here? How did we wind up in the situation that we are in. How do we fix it. I think that how is the wrong question. We need to ask Why. By asking "Why" we can deduce the problem. Once the problem is identified then a valid solution.

I have been asked frequently asked what my next book will be.  I am starting to work on, Management, American Style - the Macro Version. In other words a top down look at the American Industrial system. A Meta-Management book so to speak. I will be using this blog to experiment with is and get the words down. So without further ado...

Pragmatism - we are a pragmatic people. We concentrate on "What works." as a nation we have quite thoroughly dropped the "Well it has always worked before" approach to management.  When working for Perot our working phrase was - whatever it takes to get the job done. This phrase takes its roots  in Niccolo Machiavelli's book "The Prince." It implies that the morality of an action is justified by the results. 

Ethical - Ethical actions pertain  to or deal with the morals or principles of morality. An action is itself either moral or immoral. 

We are then forced to look at Pragmatism and Ethics. How do they relate? I coined the phrase Ethical Pragmatism to answer that question.  I define the phrase, briefly, as "Doing what works, mindful of our obligation to society." Ok, that phrase leads to asking many question. read this blog, dear reader. Ask any questions you might have - I thrive on having people disagree with me. Hopefully by discussing points we both learn.


Thursday, March 15, 2012


As I understand it, one way that the President intends to pay for his new single payer-healthcare system is by taking money from Medicare. That will force a lot of us old veterans onto the VA system, just as it is being overwhelmed by our young GI's returning from the Middle East. This sounds like a major domino effect to me.

Why do I care? I have End Stage Renal Disease. I lost a kidney due to an auto-pedestrian accident - I was hit by a man driving a truck. I am on Dialysis. I am expensive to keep alive. Medicare pays this bill. I have medical insurance to pick up the slack.

A bit about me.  I am  on Social Security-Disability.  I am a Vietnam Veteran, I spent over 20 years as a Boy Scout leader. I taught at a local college evenings and weekends. I have been paying into Social Security for about 50 years. I have been paying into Medicare since day 1 of the program.

I have never taken a nickel that I didn't earn. I feel that I have earned the support that I get.  You are welcome to disagree.

Please elect a President, Senators and Representatives who will straighten out the fiscal mess that we are in without weakening our nation.

G-d Bless These United States of America

Saturday, March 10, 2012

The Religion of Peace at it again

90 teenagers were stoned to death for dressinglike - err - umm - teenagers. This cookie-cutter mentality is disgusting!

Walk down the hallway at any High SChool or College - Kids want to express their personalities. Some are unfortunately poor at it, but for crying out loud, when do they get a chance to be kids?

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Is peace possible?

Some years ago I had an obviously Muslim student in my evening class. He came up to me one day and told me that due to his schedule he had to switch to another section of the class. I was genuinely disappointed - he was a good student. I said "lets go to lunch one day" his remark was "You would have lunch with me?".

We were never able to put it together, but this is an example of why we cannot get together. We need to start on the individual level.

It's up to each one of us.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Passion, I though I had lost it, but I found it again

This is from my Examiner.com post today:

I must admit that I had lost my passion for writing. I was burried deeply in the logistics of project management. Essentially I really didn't care that deeply and my writing showed it. However ...
Andrew Breitbart died this morning at the age of 43. This one totally changed me.  I never met Mr. Breitbart but I read his words constantly. He fought for small government. He fought against hypocracy. He challenged the Conservative movement to champion the disenfranchised, including the GLBT community.
Go read the entire post!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Gantt Chart

Huh? Who? How - I start defining the tool.

Go here!

Comments? questions? as always - they are welcome

Monday, February 20, 2012

On Washington's (and Lincoln's) Birthday

When I was in grade school - back in the primeval days - February was my favorite month. February 12th was (is?) Lincolns Birthday. We spent the first party of the month studying President Lincoln. We learned patriotic songs and made Lincoln face masks. We also learned about Lincoln and the Civil War.

After Lincolns birthday we prepared for Washington's birthday on February 22nd. We discussed the American Revolution. We learned more patriotic songs and made paper hatchets to chop down paper cherry trees's. Of course got both days off.

On January 1st, 1971 the Uniform Monday Holiday Act went into effect - Supposedly to increase the number of three day weekends for federal employees. Lincoln, Washington, Andrew Jackson* and Andrew Johnson are all celebrated on the same day. Teachers are freed from changing their lesson plans to account for the vagaries of the calendar. Students are freed from learning a bit more history.  Today children  think that James Tiberius Kirk was the first president of the United States.

In a Quixotic urge to salvage some relevance to this mess, Mr. Jason Bezis of Rockville, Md,  is trying to restore meaning to Washington's Birthday as indicated in the Christian Science Monitor. Note, The Christian Science Monotor and the Wall Street Journal are, IMHO, the only two newspapers of note left in these United States.

* For those of you who care - Andrew Jackson is responsible for "The Indian Removal Act" otherwise known as "The Trail of Tears."

Friday, February 10, 2012

I am a FISCAL conservative - now what do I mean by that?

The United States of America was built on Blood, Sweat and Tears, with apologies to the late Sir Winston Churchill. I am the grandson of penniless European immigrants. I live a good, comfortable middle-class life.   My grandfather worked in a sweatshop. My father sold shirts. I served in the US Air Force, and using my educational benefits finished college and grad-school. Here we have the American dream.

Why do I mention that? As a Fiscal  Conservative I believe that people can rise on their own merits. People will provide their own incentive if they are allowed to. The Constitution is there to provide a small, efficient government which will allow this to happen.

As a Fiscal Conservative I do not understand how people who believe as I do somehow are identified as wanting the government to insert itself in our private life. Nowhere in the Constitution do I read anything about who can marry whom. A person's individual sexual identity is their concern. We do not have the right to legislate about it.

I personally have grave doubts about abortion, however forcing a young girl to carry to term after a rape. is wrong. If I have a choice between the life of my wife or an unborn child, I will always choose my wife.  These are personal decisions that must be made by the family and doctor.

If my church decides not to provide instruction on family planning and I disagree - my choice is to stay or find a Church that is more closely aligned to my personal opinion. The government has no right to interfere in any of these decisions. People will make the correct life-decisions based on their situation. The government does not have the right to interfere.

I am a Fiscal Conservative - I am NOT a Social Conservative. This philosophy will guide me when I vote.


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Life constantly changes, don't it?

I have returned to writing for "examiner.com" I'll be putting up articles on Management - hopefully two or three per week.

I'll reserve this blog for opinions and ideas.


Saturday, January 28, 2012

Things I Learned Playing Poker

 Are you playing the right game?

We've all seen this scene. We're on the bridge of the Enterprise. Kirk, Spock and Bones are debating how to combat the evil Enuresis. Every move they make is countered effectively by the Enuresis. 

Kirk walks away and he looks up, snaps his fingers:
“We're playing the wrong game. (Dramatic pause) They're playing chess. (Dramatic pause) Spock, we need to play (pause again) Poker.”  Just to prove his point Kirk shoots a crewman wearing a red shirt.

Kirk gets on the communicator and mutters some pseudo-science about self-destruct making that entire area of space uninhabitable for a bazillion years. The bad guys disappear at warp 7. 

My game is five card Stud Poker. One card face down, four cards face up. I know how to play it; I understand the rules and have a good feel for the odds. I recently got talked into a game of Texas Holdem.  I lost my butt. I was playing someone else’s game.

I spent my professional life as a computer programmer. I was good! I eventually worked my way into project leadership. Then I was promoted up one more level. I sucked. I did not understand the political ramifications of that job. I fired myself and went back to the technical side. The most dangerous part of our personal makeup is our ego. If I can bring in a project, why can’t I be a manager? I didn’t have the tools and in actuality I didn’t care to develop them. As a project lead – I’m playing my game. As a manager I’m playing someone else’s game.

Never throw good money after bad.

I’ve got a pair of threes, one of which is my hole card. He just paired up a four. I still have two more cards coming; I have a good chance at two pair or three of a kind. After all I have 10 bazillion already in the pot, what’s another bazillion. This is called losing.  You are thinking like a loser. You are beaten on the board. Throw them in.  This is one of the hardest things for a poker player to learn to do. Once in a while you might pull a bluff off. Only try it once in a long while. How does this apply to real life?

As real estate crumbles, many people are getting caught in this one. “Buy a house with nothing down.”  Real Estate is a loser-proof investment. If things get tight you can easily flip it, take the profit and buy a new house for cash. Well, the bottom fell out of the housing market. People are living in houses that they cannot afford, but cannot flip. So now you have the husband and SO working, the kids are selling newspapers on street corners, all to pay the mortgage on a loan that is more money than the house is worth. If you are sitting in a “lose-lose” situation, get the heck out.

This does not have to apply to money only. Many years ago, when I was in college I found myself in a difficult situation. I was taking four courses that semester. Lets talk about two of them, COBOL and Intermediate Accounting. Intermediate Accounting was kicking my butt. I was spending endless hours studying and fighting for a “C”. I wandered into the computer lab about once a week and got my COBOL program done. I realized something – I was not an accountant. I would never be one. However programming came as easy to me as chewing gum. I dropped intermediate accounting. My life improved. I stopped spending good energy after bad. The simile worked.

My friend when you find yourself in this situation, no matter what the medium you are spending, time, money or whatever, you are throwing good money after bad.  Which brings us to the next Poker Truism:

Never gamble with money that you cannot afford to lose.

Gambling is by nature risky, that’s why it’s called gambling. There are, however some people who tell you that Poker is not gambling. There are some people who are convinced that playing Russian roulette is not gambling. 
When you are in any situation where your fortune is dependent on cards, dice or the stock market – you are gambling. 

So I put all my money into the stock market. Dot-Coms cannot fail. Well guess what. They failed. People lost a fortune. Well, lets put our money into real estate – land never goes down. Well guess what. It went down. I’m not saying, “Move into a cave and shoot the next person who walks by” Some folks made a lot of money on dot-coms. Some made a fortune flipping homes. B U T – it was treated as an investment. Let me explain what an investment is. An investment is a nice word for gambling. Stockbrokers are bookies. I don’t know a nicer way to say it. If you raid your bank account because you got a tip on a stock that “can’t lost” then guess what. If it does down, you are now broke. You can no longer make the payments on that house you could not afford. A corollary to this law is:


Know when to walk away from the game

I have an unbeatable method for playing roulette. It cannot lose … well as long as 0 or 00 don’t come up very often. 0 and 00 are the green slots. I’m not going to divulge my strategy because when you use it and lose your shirt, I don’t want to be sued, but getting back to my story. A few years ago my wife and I took a few days in Vegas. In the plane I explained the plan to my wife. We got off of the plane, took a cab to the hotel and checked into the room. I went into the casino and walked, confidently, over to a roulette table. Played my method. First spin – Green – Double Zero. OK, I might as well get the losing spins out of my system. Second spin, time to make some money – Green again. That’s two greens in a row. Howie (That’s me), the roulette gods have decided that you aren’t going to make any money at these here tables. I walked away from the table and found the nickel slots. 

I’ve forgotten the methodology but there are 2 greens out of 38 slots (?) that equal 1/19 = .053. Having two in a row, as I remember is .053 * .053 = approximately .003 or this will happen three times in every thousand spins.

I can think of two ways of dealing with this. One way is looking at the odds and estimating the odds of getting three greens in a row approach one in 10,000, go for it. Another way is “It ain’t my night” and walking way.  I walked away. Probabilities – or odds – only work in the long run! As an aside, at the roulette table there is a board where they post the results of the last 20 or so spins. You, being the wise gambler see that the number 17 hasn’t hit in the last 20 or so spins. It can’t lose – or can it? If that concept worked would the casino post those numbers?

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Getting caught up: Quality in 2,000 words

Quality - Control or Assurance 

For my Kindle readers - quality assurance - vs. quality control in about 2,000 words. It's easily worth the 99 cents. I only keep 35 cents of it.

A Contest

Between now and the end of February (the 29th this year) the person who joins the site from  the furthest distance from Denver Colorado gets a signed and personalized copy of "Management, American Style". FYI - Google tells me where you are posting from. let me know the City, (and State if in the US) and Country.


Maccabees - History

I just finished a book that I really can recommend
"My Glorious Brothers" 
by Howard Fast, the author of "Spartacus."  The book was written in, I believe, 1948  but the story-telling is as real as one can imagine. It defines the Jewish Soul as few books I have ever read. Reading this book explains the rise of Israel as a modern country.  Amazon has it for under $10.00. I have the name linked to the Amazon website that sells the book.

The book tells the story of the Maccabee revolt that freed Israel from the Greek Army - the superpower of the day before the rise of Rome. And no, no one stands up and yells "I am Maccabee". OK, Joshua? lol

It's a one sitting - long night, can't put it down reader. I make no money off of the sales of this book. 

Dave - you can borrow my copy.


Tuesday, January 10, 2012


Do posts have to be world-shaking? I think not. Scruffy is a 19 pound terrier mix. he has floppy ears an underbite and an ever-present smile. When we moved to the condo I demanded that we get no more 4-legged mammals. We had been living with dogs and cats for as long as I can remember. My son spent some time working at the local animal shelter. I never knew what he's bring home to foster. We even had a Newt for a while - and I didn't name him Gingrich.

One day my daughter announced that she was getting a bit tired of her mother babying her. For mothers day she took my wife to the afore-mentioned animal shelter. They came home with Scruffy.

Somebody had brought Scruffy into the shelter. the excuse was a child with allergies. Scruffy suffered from abandonment syndrome. He hated being alone. He tore up the carpet near the door - my wife got her tile entry - Hmmm?

We had to teach Scruffy to play tug-of-war and fetch. He is totally devoted to Judy, my wife. He is the brightest and most loving dog we've ever had, and that says a lot. Luckily my wife and daughter ignore me.

Sunday, January 8, 2012


It's January. Actually it's 3:45 in the morning and I can't sleep. I'm sitting and typing with my thumbs on my iPad. I have finished the article about quality and have shared it with no adverse reaction. I will post is later today when I am working on a keyboard. I have started an article comparing waterfall development with agile, lean and rad development. It is good to be thinking again. Keep tuned my friends. Howie

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


Quality Assurance vs. Quality Control. In my book - Management, American Style I devote a chapter to this topic. I think that it's worth expanding into an article. Any comments, suggestions or whatever? Let me know - I'll post the "Article" when it's finished