Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Benjamin Franklin on Beer

Benjamin Franklin worked at a printers shop in London. This excerpt is from his autobiography:
I drank only water; the other workmen, near fifty in number, were great drinkers of beer. On occasion I carried up and down stairs a large form of type in each hand, when others carried but one in both hands. They wondered to see, from this and several instances, that the Water-American, as they called me, was stronger than themselves, who drank strong beer! We had an ale-house boy, who attended always in the house to supply the workmen. My companion at the press drank every day a pint before breakfast, a pint at breakfast with his bread and cheese, a pint between breakfast and dinner, a pint at dinner, a pint in the afternoon about six o'clock, and another pint when he had done his day's work. I thought it a detestable custom; but it was necessary, he supposed, to drink strong beer that he might be strong to labor. I endeavored to convince him that the bodily strength afforded by beer could only be in proportion to the grain or flour of the barley dissolved in the water of which it was made ; that there was more flour in a pennyworth of bread ; and therefore if he could eat that with a pint of water it would give him more strength than a quart of beer. He drank on, however, and had four or five shillings to pay out of his wages every Saturday night for that vile liquor, an expense I was free from. And thus these poor devils keep themselves always under.

Monday, August 29, 2011

A Southern Christian View on Slavery

I just finished reading "The Life of Abraham Lincoln" by Henry Ketcham and have renewed admiration for Lincoln for his integrity and strong moral character.  I was surprised to discover that he never joined a specific church even though he was very literate in the Bible.  One of the problems that Lincoln had with religion was that prominent religious leaders of the time were preaching that slavery was a divine institution.

The church with which he was naturally affiliated was the Presbyterian.  The most eloquent preacher of that denomination was the Reverend Dr. Palmer of New Orleans, who was an aggressive champion of slavery as a divine institution.  His teachings were feebly echoed in thousands of other pulpits.  Now Lincoln abhorred slavery.  He incorporated human freedom into his religion...It may therefore be seen that the church did not give him a cordial invitation.  If this needs any proof, that proof is found in the fact that the pastors in Springfield voted almost unanimously against him...
...this did not embitter him against the church...all his life long he kept up such bonds of sympathy with the church as were possible.  He bore with the faults of the church and of ministers with that patience which made his whole character so remarkably genuine.  He was a constant attendant at the services, he was favorable to all the legitimate work of the church.
Here is a sermon from Dr. Palmer, along with an address from another prominent clergyman:

Thanksgiving Sermon, Benjamin Morgan Palmer, November 29, 1860
A Southern Christian View on Slavery , James Henry Thornwell, 1861

Of course, those views are in the past.  Here are a couple of apologies for past positions:

The Southern Baptist church apologized for their stance on slavery in 1995.
A New Orleans Archbishop apologizes for slavery Feb 1, 2011

Thursday, August 18, 2011

John Stewart on Ron Paul

This video is pretty funny until you ask why is the media doing this?  I don't know if Ron Paul would make a good U.S. President, but he does have a history of being right on some important issues.  Did you know that Ron Paul was trying to avoid the housing bubble 9 years ago? [link] Enjoy the video.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Level 5 Leadership

In the book "Good to Great", great organizations are lead by Level 5 leaders.  Author Jim Collins describes a Level 5 leader as someone who passes the window/mirror test, which involves two questions:
  1. Why were you successful?
  2. What went wrong?
A leader's answers can either:
  • "Look out the window" and give credit or blame to external factors
  • "Look in the Mirror" and take credit or blame upon themselves.
A Level 5 Leader answers the "Why were you successful?" question by looking out the window: "I had good people, I was lucky, The timing was in our favor, etc." and answers the "What went wrong?" question with by looking in the mirror "I made a mistake, a bad judgement call, etc.".

What prompted this posting?  This article: I reversed the recession until bad luck hit.