Fight Terror Without Sacrificing Rights…

Can we fight terror without destroying democracy? Internet freedom activist Rebecca MacKinnon thinks that we’ll lose the battle against extremism and demagoguery if we censor the internet and press. In this critical talk, she calls for a doubling-down on strong encryption and appeals to governments to better protect, not silence, the journalists and activists fighting against extremists.

Fight Terror Without Sacrificing Rights…

Better Than A Pick-Six…

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You have probably already heard about what has shaped up to be my oldest son’s most challenging football season to date.  I am happy to report that Jace has shown improvement with every passing week – not just in his overall performance, but most importantly, in his effort and confidence.  It may or may not have helped that both his mother and I (independently of each other) promised him a free meal at Panda Express if he successfully forced a turnover (he plays a bit at cornerback).

Regardless, last night was special.  His team did really well (at least in the first half).  They pulverized their opponent, in fact.   However, just as every team needs to learn to lose – this team apparently needed to learn how to win.  They came out flat in the second half.  They didn’t lose their lead – but they lost their cool.  There were a lot of penalties.  Players began to take their frustrations out on each other, the other team, the referees, and even their coaches.  To top it all off, even with a significant lead, Jace did not play all that much.

At the conclusion of the game, as is usually the case, the coach called the team together.  You would have thought, due to the content and volume of his talk, that they were on the other end of this blow-out.  He was disgusted with how they acted on several fronts.

But then he concluded his thrashing by saying, “You know what this team needs?  We need more Jaces.  He comes to every practice and game – giving his very best every time.  And he is improving every week.  What I would give to have more players like him.”

My jaw dropped.  I could not have been prouder.  That coach, not yet a Christ follower, sees character and conviction in our son.  He sees Jesus.   I mentioned to Jace, on the way home that evening, that what happened in that huddle was far more impressive and important than any fumble recover or interception that he may one day get.

You know what his response was?   Without skipping a beat, “So do I get Panda?”

Better Than A Pick-Six…

Six Years…

I had the chance recently to continue through Harlan Coben’s works with Six Years (a stand-alone story).  Coben’s claim to fame is his surprise endings.  This book was a bit different.  Maybe I have read far too many of his books in such a short amount of time, but this work seemed to develop quickly, build rapidly, and wrap-up far too simply (almost like a Brad Thor novel).  Not my favorite – but entertaining nonetheless.
With that in mind, here is how I rank his works thus far….
  1. Caught (2011):  Alcohol and Unforgiveness
  2. The Woods (2007):  Camp and the KGB 
  3. Tell No One (2001):  Emails and the Inner-City
  4. Fade Away (1996):  The New Jersey Dragons and Unrealized Dreams
  5. Six Years (2013):  University Professors and Fresh Starts
  6. Live Wire (2011):  Ultrasounds and Lip-Synching
  7. No Second Chance (2003):  Shattered Windows and the Serbian Underground
  8. Just One Look (2004):  Family Photos and Big Hair Bands
  9. Promise Me (2006):  Transcripts and Teachers
  10. One False Move (1998):  The New York Dolphins and Old Mentors
  11. Hold Tight (2008):  Parental Controls and Prescription Drugs
  12. The Innocent (2005):  Self-Defense and Camera Phones
  13. Back Spin (1997):  The PGA US Open and Mysterious Kidnappings
  14. Seconds Away (2013):  Varsity Try-Outs and Movie Extras
  15. Long Lost (2009):  CNN Anchors and Stem Cell Research
  16. Shelter (2011):  Butterflies and Concentration Camps
  17. Stay Close (2012):  Suburbia and Secrets
  18. Death Do Us Part (2006):  Vows and Vengeance
  19. Gone for Good (2002):  Covenant House and Childhood Bullies
  20. The Final Detail (1999):  The New York Yankees and Failed Drug Tests
  21. Darkest Fear (2000):  Paternity Suits and Plagiarism
  22. Drop Shot (1996):  The ATP US Open and Gang Violence
  23. Deal Breaker (1995):  The New York Titans and Magazine Advertisements
  24. Play Dead (1990):  The Boston Celtics and Australia’s Great Barrier Reef
  25. Miracle Cure (1991):  The New York Knicks and HIV
I now plan to read (at some point in the near future) Missing You.  Anyone read it yet?  If so, what did you think?
Six Years…

Scrum…

I recently listened to Jeff Sutherland and J.J. Sutherland’s Scrum:  The Art of Doing Twice The Work in Half the Time.  A few of my favorite quotes have been posted on Instagram.

This system is best described as “deep accountability, team interaction, and constant iterative improvement is, among other feats, bringing the FBI into the 21st century, perfecting the design of an affordable 140 mile per hour/100 mile per gallon car, helping NPR report fast-moving action in the Middle East, changing the way pharmacists interact with patients, reducing poverty in the Third World, and even helping people plan their weddings and accomplish weekend chores.”

Like any leadership or business resource that have gone before it, I am often a bit skeptical that the author(s) are over-promising or over-selling their strategy.  Not that this book doesn’t offer insights that would instantly bring health and effectiveness, but to say that this is the gospel that we have been waiting for sounds a bit haughty.  A part of my trepidation might be because there is so much in this small book that take in.   So much!

Pick up a copy and let me know what you think.

Scrum…

Beginning With the End In Mind…

A good reputation is more valuable than costly perfume. And the day you die is better than the day you are born.  Better to spend your time at funerals than at parties.  After all, everyone dies—so the living should take this to heart.  Sorrow is better than laughter, for sadness has a refining influence on us.  A wise person thinks a lot about death, while a fool thinks only about having a good time” (Ecclesiastes 7:1-4, NLT).

One commentator suggests, “Solomon was not contrasting birth and death, nor was he suggesting that it is better to die than to be born, because you can’t die unless you have been born. He was contrasting two significant days in human experience: the day a person receives his or her name and the day when that name shows up in the obituary column. The life lived between those two events will determine whether that name leaves behind a lovely fragrance or a foul stench. “His name really stinks!” is an uncouth statement, but it gets the point across” [Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). Be Satisfied (p. 85). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books].

He goes on to propose, “‘Better is the end of a thing than the beginning’ applies when we are living according to God’s wisdom. The beginning of sin leads to a terrible end—death (James 1:13–15), but if God is at the beginning of what we do, He will see to it that we reach the ending successfully (Phil. 1:6; Heb. 12:2). The Christian believer can claim Romans 8:28 because he knows that God is at work in the world, accomplishing His purposes” [Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). Be Satisfied (p. 87). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books].

What does it look like for you to begin with the end in mind?  To live according to God’s wisdom?

Beginning With the End In Mind…

Let’s Make Voting Fun Again…

Many people like to talk about how important voting is, how it’s your civic duty and responsibility as an adult. Eric Liu agrees with all that, but he also thinks it’s time to bring joy back to the ballot box. The former political speechwriter details how he and his team are fostering the culture around voting in the 2016 US presidential election — and closes with a powerful analysis of why anyone eligible should show up on Election Day.

Let’s Make Voting Fun Again…