Friday, November 23, 2007

Just 6% of Canadians feel schools deserve an A: survey

While Canadians believe strongly in public education, a report Friday revealed only six per cent feel their schools would score an A, while the proportion of Canadians who feel confident in the system has slipped dramatically from numbers gathered in 1984.
Still, the Canadian Education Association's Public Attitudes Toward Education study showed that even though fewer than half of Canadians (45 per cent) now express confidence in their schools, more Canadians (60 per cent) feel satisfied with the school system in general.
Back in 1984, when the CEA first asked Canadians to assess their confidence in community schools, more than three-quarters of Canadians felt confident.
The dramatic decline in confidence in 23 years, combined with an upward trend in satisfaction, suggests that Canadians believe school systems are improving but don't believe in the sustainability of those improvements, the non-profit group said.

But most people are satisfied with public school system Hear ,see,speak no evil maybe.WHY ? your omments please....

Medical tassers -Where is the Common sense?

Where is the common Sense?
When Rules are Wrong: Border Patrol Stops AmbulancePOSTED by obserant blogger casNOVEMBER 18, 2007 AT 10:02 PM TO POLITICS, US, CANADA.cas shares news of government rules and regulations rum amuck at the US-Canada border:"An ambulance rushing a heart attack victim to Detroit from a Windsor (Ontario) hospital ill-equipped to perform life-saving surgery was stopped for secondary inspection Monday by U.S. Customs, despite the fact it carried a man fighting for his life. Rick Laporte, 49 -- who twice had been brought back to life with defibrillators -- was being rushed across the border when a U.S. border guard ignored protocol at the Detroit portion of the tunnel and forced the ambulance -- with siren and lights flashing -- to pull over."

This reminds me of a story a few months back here in Virginia where a husband was pulled over and issued a reckless driving ticket for going over 80mph. The catch: he was taking his wife, who was in labor, to the hospital. It's these people's jobs to uphold the law, but come on, have half a brain and make exceptions for special circumstances!

How do we stop this? Just like Tassers which are legal but abused by "robotic" officialsh and if used without common sense

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Winning in a bad negotiation using problem-centered behaviour

Everyone has dealt with bad situations relating to people-the issue is do you want to save it or move on

People are difficult for several reasons. They may have unresolved issues in their personal life that affect their attitudes and commitment to the negotiation. They may lack empathy and make insensitive or inappropriate remarks, or they may simply be unskilled in negotiating and make mistakes. Whatever the cause, try not to over-react and make the situation worse.

Decide Whether You Want to Save the Situation -removing the shoe
You've had a long day and things aren't going well. Do you want to rescue what's left of the negotiation? If not, suggest postponing the negotiation to another day. If you do want to persevere, try the following approach.

When someone asks us for help, or appears to need it, the natural tendency of most people is to try to offer a solution. We generally produce one of the three kinds of behavior :

  • we advise people what to do;

  • we tell them;

  • we offer to do something for them under certain conditions.

This is called "solution-centered behavior" because it focuses principally on finding an answer. Sometimes this works, but it is rather easy to produce a brilliant solution to what later turns out to be the wrong problem. And when this happens, it is, of course, your fault!
An alternative approach is to use "problem-centered behavior," which means going "below the line" shown in the diagram, and questioning the other person about how he or she understands the problem.

You can do this either by consulting ("What exactly is the problem?", "When did it occur?", "What might have caused it?" and so on) or reflecting ("I can see that you're very angry about this, what's causing it?", "What aspect of the problem is troubling you most?"). The key message here is to consult about facts, reflect on feelings (Source: Margerison). The purpose is to make sure that you both share a clear understanding of what the problem is. In fact, helping the other person to clarify his or her thinking about the problem often allows the answer to emerge as if by magic. The other party then feels as if they "own" the solution, so they feel committed to it and you may not need to use the solution-centered behavior at all. Even if the answer does not appear automatically, though, you can now direct or advise from a much better understanding of the issues.

Tap Into the Power of Questions
The key to the "below-the-line" approach is that it obliges you to ask questions, which is always a good idea if you have to deal with difficult people, as it enables you to control the conversation-if you ask a question, people will usually answer it. This approach avoids confrontation, and it may get you valuable information about the person or the negotiation.
Remember the Guidelines

  • When in doubt go "below the line": consult and reflect.

  • Ask good, useful, open questions: plan them carefully

  • Ask for the other party's proposals or ideas-don't give yours first.

  • Ask for clarification of the other party's proposals rather than saying what is wrong with them.

  • Ask about their goals and objectives rather than telling them about yours.

  • Ask how you can help them.

  • -Have a Backup Plan If All Else Fails

If the other person is still being "difficult" and hindering the negotiation, more drastic action is needed. Either he or she doesn't want the negotiation to succeed, or is unable to conduct the discussion properly at this time. In any case, you need to do something to move things along.
Acknowledge that there seems to be a problem and ask three key questions:

  • Does he or she want to continue the discussions?

  • Would it be better if you spoke with someone else? A more senior member of staff, for example?

  • Is there anything you can do that will help him or her feel more comfortable with the negotiation?

Deal With Difficult Situations - key tip -deal with it!
Not all negotiations take place face-to-face these days; in fact, most negotiations happen over the phone or by e-mail. People sometimes opt for this to save time, but it's very much a second-best situation: avoid it as much as possible, except for simple negotiations.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Senate reform paradoxes

What committees will make the required changes to the Canadian Senate?
The Senate is the great Unfinished Business of Confederation. It should have been settled 140 years ago. Now it looks like Stephen Harper’s Conservatives are angling to fight a national election on it. Unfortunately, the politics have become truly Byzantine.
Everything about the Canadian Senate is paradoxical and deceptive.

Conservative Senator Hugh Segal says he has the blessing of the Prime Minister to introduce a motion in the Senate calling for a referendum on whether the Senate should be abolished. This referendum would occur with the next national election.

Paradox 1: Sen. Segal himself does not want the Senate abolished – in fact he’s a longstanding champion of reform. He may just want the Liberal Senate majority to defeat his motion in the Upper House, to show once again how obstructionist and undemocratic they are.
Because meanwhile, Jack Layton and the NDP (who have always wanted the Senate abolished) plan to introduce the same motion in the Commons, and the minority-government Conservatives, it is rumored, will ensure it passes.

Paradox 2: the Tories do not want the Senate abolished. They just want to make Senate reform the main issue of the next election campaign.
Paradox 3: it won’t matter which way the referendum goes, because Parliament lacks the power to shut down the Senate. But either way, a referendum enables a majority Conservative government to open the whole constitutional issue of the Senate with the provinces.
The Constitution requires that most provincial governments agree to reform the Senate, or to vaporize it.

Paradox 4: provincial consent is required because the Senate is supposed to be the representative of the provinces in Parliament. Not that it has ever been. But the Constitution plainly states that’s why it exists.

Paradox 5: The provinces themselves no longer want the Senate to speak for them. Provincial premiers long ago came to fancy themselves the defenders of their provincial powers and interests. It’s a satisfying delusion on their part. Except for Quebec, Ottawa works them all like play-dough. Ottawa has the money, Ottawa has the spending power.

Paradox 6: the final absurdity. We have a Prime Minister who wants to give the provinces the Senate, gift-wrapped in ribbons – a chamber whose constitutional powers are almost equal to the House of Commons – and the premiers are refusing to take it.
Except for Alberta, not one provincial government is willing (so far) to hold Senate elections. Harper has asked them to and they won’t. Even though there are already 12 Senate vacancies, and in two years over one-quarter of the seats in the Upper House will be empty, neither Harper nor the premiers intend to fill them.

Paradox 7: And for a simple reason. The premiers do not want provincially-elected senators supplanting them as federal spokesmen for their provinces, and Harper does not believe the Prime Minister should be filling a House of Parliament with partisan lackeys whose constitutional purpose is to hold him, when necessary, in check.
This bizarre situation signals something important.
It means that Harper, if he gets his majority, fully intends to reopen the Constitution, and will drive his own constitutional agenda just as relentlessly as Pierre Trudeau a generation ago.
And I say good. What Trudeau screwed up, Harper can fix.
- Link Byfield

Friday, November 02, 2007

Are you a politician?

Stop Kidding Yourself -- Everyone's a Politician!
Dick Morris
So you want to be promoted -- or help someone else move up? Get a stop sign placed on your street corner -- or halt commercial development in your neighborhood? Run for president of your civic association or the PTA?

If so, you need to learn what politicians know. Personal and career situations may not seem like politics, but they are. Office politics, civic association politics, municipal politics, corporate politics -- they are all politics, and the same ideas that candidates use to get elected can help you. Winning is winning.
Here's how to use political strategy to get what you want...

Don't try to do what everybody else does. Instead, do what nobody else does, and persuade your boss or organization that it's important. Be the sole supplier of a service and then sell the service.
If you try to be the best salesperson in your company, the most efficient data processor in your division or the best writer in your firm, you will face lots of competition. Your path is filled with wannabes who will fight you for every promotion. But if you are the only person who can do something that nobody else is thinking of doing, the path ahead will likely be clear.

I never tried to tell Bill Clinton, whom I first met when he was the 31-year-old attorney general of Arkansas, that I, at age 30, was the best campaign manager he could hire. The world was -- and is -- crawling with campaign managers, so I invented a new phrase -- political consultant. I told Clinton what the job entailed, making it up as I went along, and that I was the only one in captivity.

You don't have to be a political candidate to use an issue to get what you want. Issues are the oars we use to row our boats ahead -- in any water. If George Bush can use the fear of terrorism to get reelected, you can use the need for more stop signs to win the job of neighborhood association president. Find an issue that differs from those of your opponents (or rivals for the position you want) and that appeals to the majority of your group or to your boss. The issue can be central to your group's function or ancillary to it. It doesn't matter. All that matters is that the issue matters to your constituency.
Do you work for a mutual fund? Position yourself as the guy who advocates socially responsible investments. Want to become head of your civic group? Emphasize how you favor outreach to minority and poor neighborhoods. Seeking a promotion? Position yourself as the person who knows how to make the Internet work for your company.
Important: It is easier to sell an issue than to promote yourself. You don't have to talk about how great you are, just how important your issue is.

All of politics works on the favor system. It is the most basic, unwritten law of the political process. Every politician keeps a mental inventory of the favors he/she has done for other politicians and, on the other side of the ledger, records his IOUs. The politician who doesn't pay back a favor by doing an equivalent good deed finds himself cut off and his sources of largesse dried up. This favor system works in business, community life, social interactions and every other form of personal communication. As my grandmother said, "One hand washes the other."
The way to play the favor system is to spread strategic favors around that can trigger rewards later. Are you in a position to contract out services for your company? Or arrange which pizza parlor to use for your civic group's lunch? Or recommend a person for a job?
Maneuver and wrangle your way into a position where you have favors to dispense. Vladimir Putin, Russia's president, was a low-level clerk at the Kremlin under his predecessor, Boris Yeltsin. Putin was the one who handed out favors -- everything from hotel rooms to airline tickets to jobs to contracts for services. He passed them around so skillfully that he parlayed the job into the presidency of Russia.
Once you have favors to distribute, the next question becomes, to whom do you give the plums? Don't waste them on people just because they are friends or longtime associates. Look to see who is in a position to do a favor for you in return. Who can give your company some patronage back? Whose support will you need to move up your particular ladder? Whom do you need to cultivate to achieve your objective?
Always be aware that there are two kinds of people -- those who pay back favors and those who don't. The ones who don't aren't necessarily bad people... they just don't get how the game is played.

Very rarely can you move up the ladder of your ambition step-by-step. There are usually too many people on the rungs above you -- and your company, student group, civic association or church would have to pay too high a price for jumping you up out of turn.
The Bible says that a "prophet is without honor in his own land." Well, it's usually like that in your own company or organization. Those in power always see you as the kid who first walked through their door years ago. Your own people rarely give you credit for what you have become. You may have grown before their eyes, but it takes a stranger to notice it.
So the way up is diagonal. Move from one ladder to the next. Every time you join a new company, organization or civic group, people see you at your new level.
I grew up in New York City politics, but the politicians there couldn't believe that I had become a political strategist. They kept seeing me as this kid who ran around campaigning. So I needed to go to Arkansas to work for Clinton to win the credentials that I could take back to New York to get the time of day from the politicians there.

So can you be or become a politician to become effective for yourself and your organization?