Wrong man for the job

Rage by Bob Woodward

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a page turner. Woodward does a great job of reporting on the Trump presidency with extensive interviews with the principals in the story. It’s one of the best books I’ve read this year. The quote from the last page of the Epilogues sums up the book and the Trump presidency as well as anything I’ve read.

“For nearly 50 years, I have written about nine presidents from Nixon to Trump—20 percent of the 45 U.S. presidents. A president must be willing to share the worst with the people, the bad news with the good. All presidents have a large obligation to inform, warn, protect, to define goals and the true national interest. It should be a truth-telling response to the world, especially in crisis. Trump has, instead, enshrined personal impulse as a governing principle of his presidency. When his performance as president is taken in its entirety, I can only reach one conclusion: Trump is the wrong man for the job.”

— Bob Woodward

Never underestimate Nancy Pelosi

Pelosi by Molly Ball

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Interesting book and one I’m glad I read. It gave me insights about Nancy Pelosi that I would never have known. She’s an incredible person. You have to admire her verve even if you don’t agree with her politics. Lots of insights and information about how she worked with the Congress and the Executive Branch over a career that’s now spanned over thirty years.

This is dedicated to the people of New York

There are thousands of courageous people on the front lines of this coronavirus pandemic. The epicenter in the United States is currently New York City. I live a long way from there but I have many friends who live there. I was born in Manhattan many years ago. My Mom was born there too. She grew up in a walkup in Jackson Heights. When I saw this tweet by Governor Cuomo tonight on Twitter it really grabbed me. I’ve been very impressed with Governor Cuomo’s leadership in the midst of this chaos. I pray everyday and especially for the people of New York. I hope you’ll pray for them too. New Yorkers are tough. They have to be. I’m saluting the folks who put this video together.

Mr. Martinez — Servant Leader

Friday I volunteered at Boston Valley Elementary School in the First Grade classroom of Dara Watkins. It was my first classroom experience since retiring in August. I read the students “Harold and the Purple Crayon,” which was one of the first books I read and remains one of my favorites. Upon arriving at Boston Valley I parked my car, picked up my shopping bag of beanie babies my wife had donated to the cause and a pumpkin I purchased as a class gift along the route of travel. I walked to the entrance of the school and got “buzzed in,” by the elementary secretary, signed in and was directed toward Dara’s classroom. In the hall I met a tall, well dressed gentleman. I said, “are you the principal?” He responded, “no, I’m the custodian here.” I’m naive, so I took him at his word as he escorted me to Dara’s classroom. I said, “I worked as a custodian and school bus driver for eight years prior to earning my bachelors degree and becoming a teacher.” Immediately we had something in common and I felt welcome here at Boston Valley. Later when talking with Dara I learned that my custodial escort was in fact Mr. Martinez, the school’s principal. I also learned from Dara and my wife that this wonderful man had given her $100 to buy school supplies. Servant leaders always empower those they serve and Mr. Martinez is one of those rare individuals who does exactly that. Dara, her colleagues, and the students of Boston Valley are blessed to have Mr. Martinez. Thanks for making my day and enriching all of our lives with your wonderful example.


It’s been 20 years since my first NYSCATE Conference. The changes in that time have been remarkable. I’ve attended a number of sessions and most have been very interesting. Although I’ve seen no presentations on open source per se but I have seen a number of presentations where the applications are on the web and they are PHP served applications and most likely those applications are run on Apache servers. While Google is not open source, it is hosted on open source data centers. Great buzz here about Google Apps for Education. Twitter is huge in Educational Technology circles and it’s yet another open source based application.

The growth of iPads has been phenomenal. Very few attendees carry notebooks or even netboks anymore. Almost everyone has an iPad. Almost everyone has a smart phone and while many conference goers sport iPhones, many more are carrying Android based phones. Interactive white board vendors are more numerous and there must be at least a dozen separate vendors.

The Leader in Me


I’ve been reading “The Leader in Me,” by Steven Covey today as I sit in a boat rocking gently on the shores of Lake Murray in steamy South Carolina. It’s been quite a year and just prior to the ISTE Conference I went on retreat. Retreats are restorative. Prior to the retreat I had been burned out. In fact I was so singed I was considering staying home and just giving up. Well, I’m glad I went on retreat. I got the catharsis I needed and then I went to the conference. I prayed that I would keep a beginners mind at the conference and remain open to the spirit. On Monday morning the spirit began to move in me as I listened to the words of Dr. Covey and students from A. B. Combs Elementary School speak of how they applied the principles of the book, “The Leader in Me.”

I’m a person who lives from my heart. In the past two years I’ve taught and worked with children whom I love and for whom I’ve taken some responsibility. Earlier this year I worked directly with our superintendent, studied data and demographics and looked for ways to change the school culture while uplifting students and teachers. Now, thanks to Dr. Covey’s book and the leading of the spirit I have some answers and more importantly a direction in which to move. I already wrote our superintendent who could hear the change in my “voice.” I’m grateful the spirit didn’t give up on me even though I had given up on it. I’m grateful to all who pray for me each day including the wonderful people at Gratefulness.org. I’m grateful to for all the people who sustain me each day with their thoughts and prayers. Namaste!

Beginners mind

I took some time to read a post from year or more ago and in it I referenced a beginners mind. That is such an important concept and one that I need to remember often. It’s really timeless wisdom and often completely unappreciated and under utilized in most books about leadership. I’ve been reading a particularly good book about leadership this week. It’s entitled “Resilient Leadership for Turbulent Times.” Many strategies and ideas in the book which I’ve enjoyed very much. A major surprise in the book was the overall emphasis on a reflective and contemplative stance. It was quite refreshing and an enjoyable read. However I’m not sure the phrase beginners mind is used. Having a beginners mind is really the essence of success. Keeping an open mind and staying open to possibilities are really keys to success in life. Knowing all the answers or pretending to know all the answers is always a losing proposition.

My prayer today then is to help me to keep an open mind and a grateful heart.


A real leader is always at the scene of the battle. Contrast Barack Obama’s tour of Afghanistan, Kuwait and Iraq with the leadership style of our current president. Senator McCain’s camp actually leaked the details of the trip, but Obama, a real leader went anyway and visited U.S. troops. That’s a paradigm change from our current leader who always arrives in Iraq under the cover of darkness and cloaked in secrecy.

Take a look at this video.