Saturday, April 23, 2011
Team Building for Grins and Bagels
I attended a Team Building yesterday, and it was good.
This was the brain child of my supervisor's supervisor, I believe, and her thought was to bring all of the Ninth Circuit attorneys together, let them get to know each other better, and learn ways to maximize office productivity through better communication. I wasn't particularly impressed with the project which I saw as just another "feel-good, hold hands and sing Kumbaya" exercise which would suck up the time I needed to draft petitions and staffing forms and get ready for next week's prodigious court docket. As Winnie the Pooh would say, "oh, bother." Or maybe that was Alton Brown.
I work for a state agency, and there are attorneys in every county and every judicial circuit. When I first started working for the predecessor agency, the dreaded HRS, the state was divided into districts. District Seven was a four county construct, covering two judicial circuits, the Ninth and the Eighteenth. Over the past few years, the entire structure has been revamped and now we are identified by our judicial circuit, which is then part of a greater region composed of some number of circuits. Just how many counties comprise a circuit is variable. If you don't live in Florida, just skip all that and take my word for this: the Ninth Judicial Circuit is comprised of two counties, Orange and Osceola. I work in Osceola, along with five other attorneys and six support staff. In my mind, it's a pretty good place to work. Not because of the money - ha ha - or the benefits, which used to be good but are being cut - or the opportunities for advancement, of which there are none - or the public recognition, which doesn't happen because what we do is extremely confidential. There are two good things about where I work, and those are the specific type of law I get to practice, and the people I work with. My own office, best of all, but I like the folks in the Orange County offices as well. As the saying goes, we all get along. Mostly.
A small gaggle of supervisors
So there didn't seem to be any purpose to this, but my supervisor's supervisor was pretty enthusiastic about it, plus she offered bagels and cream cheese, and then, just in case there was any doubt, she made it mandatory. That's okay, she is the boss.
Some of the Orange County attorneys. Joe is eating a bagel. Kim won the quarterly outstanding attorney award. Way to go, Kim!
As it turned out, it was entirely painless and extremely enlightening. Even though we all get along (mostly) and work well together, and always watch out for each other, it turns out that there are ways to make our working relationships better. Sort of like Marriage Encounter without the religious overtone. The Human Resource Lady who presented the material was easy to listen to, not preachy or silly. The exercises were relevant. Even though the room was full of supervisors, we were relaxed. We laughed. We learned. And at the end, we all aspired to be geese instead of buffalos. Trust me, that was a good thing.
Donna and Marci both won Giraffe Awards, for sticking their necks out above and beyond the call of duty
I still haven't posted the recipe for the Brunswick stew I made last night because I am completely conflicted about it. It ended up being much too complicated for the taste involved, which means I will never make it again (sorry, Rob). And I just can't help but think it wasn't really good enough to share. Grandma might not say "feh" but she would probably say "blah." I don't want to feature "blah" recipes, so we'll skip it and pretend this never happened.
Update: I resolved the conflict, and posted my version of Paula Deen's Chicken Brunswick Stew, plus a bonus recipe for corn casserole. Bon Appetit!
And now, from the "my head is going to explode" news department:
The deep public rift between the intelligence agencies of the US and Pakistan has now extended to the military.
"Adm Mike Mullen, the top US military official, has visited Pakistan more than 20 times, and invested an unusually large amount of time to build a relationship with Pakistan's army chief Gen Ashfaq Kayani.
Gen Kayani has invested an equal amount of time and energy in maintaining a close relationship with the US military, despite differences ever since the Afghan Taliban were defeated in 2001.
From the start, the Pakistan army objected to the occupation of Kabul by the Afghan Northern Alliance, the initial domination of the government by non-Pashtuns, and the refusal of the Americans to involve Pakistan in helping rebuild the Afghan army.
More differences arose after Pakistan gave sanctuary and support to the leadership of the Afghan Taliban who relaunched their insurgency in Afghanistan in 2003.
Since then the Taliban insurgency has grown to cover all of Afghanistan."
Anyone want to take a shot at why we ever trusted Pakistan in the first place? Do you think maybe Pakistan was giving sanctuary to the Afghan Taliban before 2003? I'm thinking on or about September 12, 2001. I'm also thinking George W. Bush was an idiot. But you knew that.
Speaking of idiots, I haven't picked on Governor Voldemort in at least 2 days ... I just saw this:
Gov. Rick Scott to U.S. EPA: We'll take care of our own water
TALLAHASSEE — The day after the Florida House passed a bill to ban implementation of water quality standards set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Gov. Rick Scott on Friday asked the agency to rescind a January 2009 determination that the federal rules are necessary for Florida.
Opponents of the federal requirement say the state is better equipped to decide how best to comply with the federal Clean Water Act, which is intended to manage nitrogen and phosphorous pollution of lakes, rivers, streams and bays. They say the EPA standards will be costly to implement, don't address specific conditions of local waterways and provide little biological benefit.
According to Scott's office, the petition sent to the EPA details eight pollution control measures already in place in Florida that mirror EPA recommendations for effective water pollution control ...
The environmental group Earthjustice immediately criticized Scott's petition, sent through the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. The group said the move protects polluters by rejecting a plan for preventing slimy algae outbreaks that kill fish and make Florida water unfit for boating and swimming.
"It is particularly galling that Scott is thumbing his nose at clean water on Earth Day. It says a lot," Earthjustice attorney David Guest said in a prepared statement. "Polluters have been using our public waters as their private dumping grounds for too long, and it needs to stop. The corporate lobbyists who have Scott's ear are good at what they do. Unfortunately, when they win, the rest of us lose."
Speaking of losing, oops, the Magic did it again. Come on, guys ...