Tag Archives: moses


10 Aug

The role of a leader is to defend, redeem, preach and govern.

A leader cannot point the way. A teacher just can’t teach. A leader must have intuition, empathy and know how to delegate, giving guidance in a way the recipient will absorb and digest. A leader must observe, be merciful knowing when a lamb is thirsty needing to drink.

The role of a leader is to nurture. When a person leaves their faith they are as if the lamb that ran from Moses to water to drink. A person leaving their faith thirsts for meaning in life.

The true leader will walk with his protege, re-fill their depleted faith, be their defender, the ultimate sacrifice.

Moses learned a lesson in leadership. Moses faith was depleted.  Moses lacked the esteem to believe the people would hear his message.

God revealed himself. God refilled Moses depleted faith. Moses didn’t feel worthy. Moses said , “Who am I?” God said to His protege, “I will be with you.”

Moses said, “no.” Moses knew he wasn’t going to be the person to lead the Israelite in to the Promised Land.  Moses knew he wasn’t worthy. So, Moses said the people needed to be spoken to and that he, Moses, had a speech impediment.

Moses begged God to send someone else to get the job done.
Moses knew the Israelites would be exiled again. Moses knew the temple destroyed.  Moses knew the future of Israel.

So, God gave Moses a test, the burning bush. Seven days, seven nights, Moses resisted that test that teaches us that while leaders can be born, Leaders can be made, that a true leader takes a lifetime of tutoring, the Leadership lesson from Moses .



12 Jun

I came to Toastmasters because public speaking scared me. Let me be brutally honest, I came to Toastmasters because speaking scared me. I would wait until someone spoke first. Sweaty Palms and hyperventilating outed my fears if I stood at the front of a room or tried to carry on a conversation with more than 12, make that more than 2, make that more than 1.

In my few short months of becoming a Toastmaster, I have graduated. The sweaty clammy palms have gone. I can publicly complete an unscripted sentence that has a beginning and end and a middle. And my heart no longer beats to me to the end of a sentence like American Pharoah crossing a finish line ahead of the whole field. I am able to be heard across a room without being miked. And I embrace my space, talking with arms opening wide in grace filled conversation of motions like a bird in flight.

Toastmasters taught me to soar.

All this time, I hadn’t thought much about where and how Toastmasters got its start. I was fixated on my starting to speak, publicly that is. I had to learn fast.

And then one day I had time to think. I thought about Toastmaster’s origins. Toastmasters magazine prompted me to wonder, who was the first toastmaster was… and when. I understood the why.

I found my answer in a piece penned on Ralph C Smedley. I learned that Smedley had a phenomenal notion about bringing together young men in speaking clubs. Smedley felt the young men wanting work needed to learn to speak, conduct meetings, plan programs and work alongside others on committees. Smedley was the director of education at a YMCA, Young Men’s Christian Association. Smedley named his group of young men, and mentors, the Toastmasters Club honoring people who gave toasts at banquets and other phenomenally celebratory occasions. Seems the name toastmaster may have had an even earlier origin dating back to the Roman tradition of drinking to a lady’s health with spice soaked toasted bread softened in wine.

I didn’t think much more about Smedley’s phenomenal Toastmaster idea until, one day, I was listening to a faith leader speak. He talked, and he talked, and he talked and talked and talked and talked and talked. I was sooooooooooo restless that I reached out to the nearest book I could grab. It was then I had my Aha Mentor Moment that twerked me to realize who the real first toastmaster was.

Bible 1.0.

It was there in Black and White in a book that is read all over. A good book, if you asked me…..

God was coaching Moses to be the first Toastmaster ever. God told Moses to go talk to the Israelites. Moses said no. And God said yes you will. And Moses said I wont, no one will listen to me. And God said say, ‘Moses, buddy, trust me they will.’ And Moses said say ‘I have a speech impediment.’ And God would say ‘so who cares, believe that you don’t, you just need to speak up, and deliver your message, 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10.’

What a difference a page in history makes. If this was not the first Toastmasters moment then, what is.

We all know how that story ends up. God did a bangup job getting Moses to speak up loud and clear. Moses became such an expert Toastmaster, improving so much that he, Moses, convinced a community of Israelites to follow him in to the desert, wandering for years in a journey that is technically takes hours as the crow flies.

I can only presume that everyone else has history wrong. According to my theory, no, Moses didn’t throw the Ten Commandments down to the ground. That would have been phenomenally dumb, after having spent days and nights alone atop the mountain chiseling away on the first evolution of mass communications, that made him a “rock” star. From my perspective? I think that Moses suffered from palms that were so clammy and sweaty those darn heavy stone tablets slipped from Moses hands, crashed to the ground and shattered.

Thank you Toastmasters for my teaching lesson in grandeur of the mastery of being coached, reminding all of us of the phenomenal power of being mentored in the art of the Toast, by the master…. God.


1 Aug


John Dingell is DC living history, more correctly, living Congressional history.

Congress decided to pull a Tuesdays With Morry with him, you know, the book about sharing life with someone while they were still here rather than after when regrets are what navigate. The Energy & Commerce Committee hearing room, Rayburn Building, House side, Room 2123 is now named the John Dingell Room. This Room Dedication wasnt about politics for the Democrat representing Michigan’s 12th. It was about respect.

As long as I have been around Congress, I have seen him walking in and out of hearings on what my grandfather would call “his sticks”, arm braces. Moreso than ever before, our culture takes things, and people, for granted, especially in our twitter world, I am afraid, young pups of media tend to write John off. John’s curtness is due to nothing less than wisdom.

At his age, John’s brevity isnt from Old Age, it is ‘been there done that so many times your eyes would cross kiddo.’ And he has. http://dingell.house.gov/about-me/full-biography

The best vignette of John for me was when I was in his office, a few weeks back, talking with staff while presenting my perspective on technology’s devastating impact on 2D IP, ID and Commerce along with my TITLE 17 edit folio that I delivered to key legislators (and then some and growing).

John’s office was my last folio drop.

My eyes drank up history on his walls. Wow. What I would give to sit with him for an hour and record history. Let me be frank… he has lived through the tail end of one century and the turn into the next. Moi, I tell the ‘Moses was my bassinet mate’ jokes about me… well, it is with humility, I offer that honor to John.

I will tell you why…

The more things change the more they stay the same. Life model’s havent changed just the young whippersnappers have. A chap I chat with from time to time said for him becoming 50 was his great equalizer, recalling with fondness his liberal days as a long haired hippie eventually turned Conservative and military having served in several theaters of war. I did offer him what comes out in my hair brush daily (and then grows back) if he had a hankering to relive his hippie days, with a twist, as a redhead.

Point of sharing is that I have witnessed young pups of media, hooligans with a hand taperecorder, disregard John as they push past him in the hall after a Young Gun, Gang Of 8 or 10 or 20 when the MAN who has been there done that seen the Good the Bad & the Ugly is walking at his metronome pace to and from his office daily. Talk of example to look up to. Talk about person to follow. Talk about Wikipedia…. that online write history by community… you realize John is WICKED PEDIA in the flesh if you catch him at a hearing where he sits, listens and in ONE line cuts through the witnesses crap to the Reality Check point.

The naming of a Hearing Room after him, at this time now, is brilliant and honor to a man I wish the kids who cover Congress would be forced to sit in his room and hear War Stories that will charm them to honor the halls they troll looking for stories, some real and some “gotcha.” 

Listen, if we want to change the tenor of Congress, us oldies need to lead. Thought? Pizza party, Mr. Dingle? Cameras and tape recorders required to live and learn about life before black & white TV, way back to the good old smoke signal days my boys tease me of coming from. Yeah, I got a million, starting with the Red C, I mean sea… Moses didnt part the waters, he parted Company(ies). Google glass? John’s call….

I have a sense a good friend or two on the Energy & Commerce committee could make this happen. Dibs on the first invite. AND dont forget, me listening to you talk about my questions I want to ask Faith, philanthropy, 2D IP, ID and Commerce…after all Joel Gray sang it best “Money makes the world go round… Life is a Cabaret.”

I promise no Dolly jokes… NOT!… just outed myself  😉 


4 Jan

Norman Goodman stood, hands in pocket, surrounded by zodiac brass inlays in the middle of the marble floor. Under his feet, by accident not design, inside New York’s Supreme Court County Courthouse, the astrological scale of Justice. Goodman, the Clerk of the state judiciary system, retired a long time ago, yet, day after day, he is at 60 Center Street, New York’s civic center off Foley Square.

Goodman’s seal is the stamp of authenticity for the State Courts. In colonial times, the Clerk of The Courts of Common Pleas, Session, Oyers and Terminer was determined to be the state archivist of legal history, keeping county records, judicial process papers and other records valuable to urban social scientists. Authors include John Jay, Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton.  As the state’s legal archivist, Goodman’s his word goes a long way.  He took his role one step further. He successfully campaigned to restore the rotunda art. “Cigarettes damaged the artwork,” he said, recalling days gone by when barristers and clients sidebarred in clouds of smoke.

Goodman cast his eyes, inside the great rotunda a 100’ above his head, up towards the 30 foot mural painted by Italian emigre Attilio Pusterla, before speaking. “Most people enter the court for a legal purpose. Ex-husbands, ex-wives. Plaintiffs. Respondents. Judges. Lawyers. They walk in. They walk out. Not many look up.” Goodman believes in the system he swore allegiance to years back as a cub attorney passing the bar. “It does work,” he says. “Look at the precedence,” waving at the Great Rotunda.

Pusterla, selected by the Courthouse’s architect Bostonian Guy Lowell, painted “Law Through The Ages,” a left to right parade of six half-moon lunettes spanning Assyrian times through to America’s era, lawgivers who influenced the current judicial system; Hammurabi, King of Babylon’s code, one of the oldest sets of laws in history; Moses asking Pharaoh to release the Jewish people from captivity; King Solomon deciding which of two mothers should receive custody of the child each claimed was theirs; Cyrus The Great, Persia’s first Emperor, letting conquered Babylonian Jewish prisoners return to their homes; Solon forming the first democratic government after relieving Athenians of draconian laws they suffered under; Roman statesman Marcus Tullius Cicero quelling a rebellion with his words accusing Cataline of treason; Byzantine Emperor Justinian compiled a Code of 4,652 laws gleaned from earlier Roman Emperors’ Constitutions; Charles The Great, Charlemagne King of the Franks persuading Pope Leo III to crown him Holy Roman Emperor; King John of England signing the Magna Carta giving English barons rights they’d been denied; 18th Century legal scholar Sir William Blackstone, author of commentaries influencing laws of both England and the United States; the Puritans seeking unification of church and state; Benjamin Franklin who designated the wild turkey, not the bald eagle America’s national bird; John Marshall, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, who determined the Supreme Court is the final arbiter of the Constitution; Lincoln alongside Frederick Douglass, the escaped slave who became a presidential advisor, surrounded with a crowd of free people; and George Washington shown presiding over Philadelphia’s 1776 Constitutional Convention where the US Constitution was signed into law.

The décor in Goodman’s office is classic law, lawyers and litigation. Bookcases are rung with leather bound legal books. Aged sepia photos hang on the walls. Goodman’s photos are of the WPA mural artist and building architect Lowell. Linda, his long time secretary, and friend, on her way to lunch, asks what he wants and how it’s to be prepared. A colleague drops by to update Norman on his father’s health.  A judge swaps “do you remember when’s.” An attorney reminisces struggles starting his practice. 

Recent cases at 60 Center Street included Martha Stewart, former SEC CEO Dick Grasso and most recently, denial of A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition, National Council of Arab Americans and United for Justice and Peace permit request for mass assembly on New York’s great lawn “in support of justice for Palestine.”  Their members include “New Jersey Solidarity Activist For The Liberation Of Palestine” and Ohio State University’s “Committee For Justice in Palestine” on New York Central Park’s Great Lawn.

 Goodman trusts the system. Presiding judges are counselled in each courtroom with “In God We Trust.”  Daily, Goodman watches history in the making. Peeking at King Solomon above him, Goodman says, “If these wall could talk.” In these days before the Supreme Court rules on God in Texas, one wonders if Goodman is hoping the vibrant art on his walls can remain undiscovered.  Shhhhhhhhhhhh!