Notes: Colorado Caucus, Gates, Moses.

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shutterstock_183650075Colorado Caucus

I am caucusing on Tuesday for Mrs. Clinton here in Boulder.  Looking forward to hearing from my fellow Democrats and attending my first caucus.  This will be my first time to try and understand in person from a Democrat why they would vote for an Independent (Sanders has not changed his affiliation in the Senate to Democratic).  I have yet to talk with a Democrat supporting Sanders and the online presence has not impressed me. As far as I am concerned this is about the Democratic Party picking a Democrat or going outside the party for someone.  Should be an interesting night and I hope to learn something.

Bill Gates

My experience with Microsoft over the years in negotiations was they were a zero sum partner.  Unlike Apple, they honestly never cared if we as their partner was successful.  And I long ago gave up using any of their products as buggy, insecure, and overly complex.

Although Gates has been lauded over the years for his philanthropic efforts, I have never been able to find any evidence that the money he has spent has done much.  Certainly all the evidence indicates to me if he had simply donated money in blocks without strings to major charities he would have generated better results.

But he has now hit on a major idea that is truly insightful.  None of the energy sources we have now, “clean” or otherwise, are going to bend the curve on climate change and poverty.  And more importantly none of the “clean fuels” have the ability to provide the power necessary to raise those in the Third World poverty into modest prosperity.

He and his fellow billionaires are pouring capital into next generation nuclear, next generation solar and wind combined with as yet non-existent storage capacity, and other alternatives.  This is precisely the right approach. I had the opportunity to serve on the Board of new generation battery company funded in large measure with President Obama’s stimulus program.  The government as Gates states is important in basic research, but it is hopeless in investing.  In 28 years of business I have never seen anything more incompetent than the stimulus investment in the battery company we ended up selling to the Chinese and Russians with $35 million of US taxpayer paid for equipment.

Gates is on to something and I wish him luck.

Outside the Comfort Zone

Today’s sermon at St. Ambrose here in Boulder was the best sermon I have heard in 54 years.  Our priest, Peter, used the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible lesson of Moses and the burning bush to illustrate.  He drew a small circle, a larger circle around the small one, and a large one around all of them.  They were labeled “comfort zone”, “wilderness”, and “dying/new life”.  Moses walked out of his comfort zone shepherding his father-in-law’s sheep into the wilderness.

Many of us never leave our comfort zone.  We do not reach out to a homeless person on the street to start a conversation, or speak up with a view contrary to everyone else’s in the room, or extend our hand and introduce ourselves in an unfamiliar gathering. But Moses walked into the wilderness and met God.

Then God challenged him to go back to Egypt to free His people. Moses gave God all the reasons he could not: he was not good enough; he had a speech impediment. But God sent him anyway into the unknown.  Not the known wilderness, but into the unknown where he might die.  Moses and Aaron went and from that leap into the unknown they achieved great things.

You do not have to be religious to understand that important lesson.  Whether it is Moses, our Founding Fathers, Gandhi, or MLK it is that outer circle that is the realm of those who achieve greatness for others.

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