So I have a true story about "Total Quality Management" and an early career social faux pas on my part.
I had to teach "TQL/TQM" at the Naval War College in 1991 and I thought it was a load of horseshit and said so.
I left in late 1991 to back to teaching at Dartmouth. /1
While at Dartmouth, a local lecture society asked me to come talk about the 1992 election. My host took me and my wife to dinner at a country club. On the way, he asked me how things were at the Naval War College - since he was a retired admiral and former President of NWC. /2
I said: "Well, they're all wrapped around the axle with this TQL nonsense," I said. The admiral looked in the rear view. "Oh? You're not a fan of Deming?" [Deming is the guy who created the idea.] "We not making cars, admiral," I said. "It's silly and a waste of time." /3
The admiral was LeBourgeois. The guy who instituted TQM/TQL at the Naval War College. I did not know this at the time.
Silence all the rest of the way through the New Hampshire darkness until we get to dinner. /4
At dinner, we all try to be nicer, and my wife compliments the admiral's wife on her sweater. Irish wool! Gorgeous!
And then Dr. Tom spears a cherry tomato that explodes all over the... Irish sweater. We are now zero for two and maybe I will not live to get to the lecture. /5
I redeemed myself at the lecture by trashing the idea that a WWII vet like George Bush should be pushed out of the way by someone like Bill Clinton. I made a pitch for keeping the Silents in power and not handing it yet to the Boomers. All was forgiven. Sorta. /6
But to this day, when I hear "TQL" I see my first wife cringing as a tomato explodes all over the sweater worn by the wife of the admiral who loved the TQL nonsense that I had just slagged so impudently. My ex still winces at it.
(This has been a @quinncy style Small Story ©)

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More from @RadioFreeTom

31 Jul
So, for those keeping tabs on tonight's @FoxNews soap opera:

@BretBaier claims to read a random viewer question that links travel bans and illegal immigration

@ellencarmichael admits it was her, not a random viewer - i.e., a planted question, but not about immigration

@FoxNews @BretBaier @ellencarmichael Baier, apparently not realizing Carmichael has already owned the planted question and said so publicly on Twitter, doubles down:


@FoxNews @BretBaier @ellencarmichael Carmichael, unfortunately, now inadvertently rats out Baier - or whoever tacked on the immigration bullshit - and plays the victim (which is a very savvy political consultant move, I guess).


Read 6 tweets
19 Jul
A couple of comments on this. Yeah, I don’t like it when expert groups don’t talk to each other. Right now this is a competition between “cautious“ and “super cautious“ and some professional associations like the APA look at a very narrow mandate. /1
One of the dilemmas facing professionals is that anything less than “super cautious” creates recriminations from the public if something goes wrong later - Even if it’s something different than the original issue. /2
I also worry about professional associations responding to what they think will placate their public constituency, in this case, jumpy parents. In that case they think: “what could it hurt to do more than necessary?“ /3
Read 10 tweets
15 Jul
I'm going to explain, in one tweet - coming up - why people on the left who think "they saw it coming" became part of the problem.
You ready? It's in the next tweet. Here we go.
Because the CJCS used "Reichstag fire" and it's *not even close to the top story tonight because of five years of REICHSTAG FIRE! from political hysterics*, and now Milley's comment is lost when it should be *the thing we're talking about*.
That's it. But there's more. /2
Instead of saying "Whoa, the CJCS was worried about Trump ginning up some kind of soft coup inside DoD," the reaction from some here is "see, I was right to say dumb shit five years ago, like the way my grandma was sure she had cancer every day until she finally had cancer." /3
Read 4 tweets
15 Jul
But you were. Many of you were. When you start yelling HITLER on day 1, you're burning out the ability of people to take seriously the threat when it actually arrives. You're like hypochondriacs who wear out the doctors who then won't believe they're truly sick later. /1
Yelling REICHSTAG! every day because you hated Trump is not the same as the CJCS saying he was worried about it after years of appointments of toadies. That does not make you prescient; it makes you complicit in creating noise that drowns out the signal in a moment of peril. /2
Even now, the takeaway from the story about Milley should not be "we were right! He was Hitler!" but rather "we should be cold as ice about what and who is a threat instead of a mass of hysterics." Choose your battles and win them. /3
Read 4 tweets
4 Jul
People on the left ask me how the left contributed to where we are. That's a long answer that includes "read Mark Lilla," but I'd add:

- much of postmodernism was and is an undermining of basic knowledge and reason
- recasting everything in politics in terms of race/gender

- years of obsession with the White House combined with ignoring local and state politics
- an intolerance bred on campuses that has escaped into mainstream Dem politics that alienates the normals
- cultishness that is in many cases nearly as bad as Trumpism

But with all that said, the center-left does have a kind of rule-based, good-government foundation to it that I prefer over the win-at-all-costs rightist culture warriors. I have said repeatedly that the Democrats are the better stewards of the Constitution now.
Read 5 tweets
4 Jul
I am going to take issue with this @nytdavidbrooks piece because I think Brooks, and many others, are missing a crucial piece of the puzzle in the "death of truth" and the "unwinding of demcracy problem. Thread follows. /1…
Brooks writes that Trumpers buy Trump's lies "because he tells stories of dispossession that feel true to many of them," and that kids on campuses are intolerant because they "feel entrapped by a moral order that feels unsafe and unjust." Maybe. But that's not the core issue. /2
What so many intellectuals miss is how bored and listless these people on both the right and left feel, and how energizing and *good* it feels to believe the lies, no matter what side they come from. It's ennobling. It's heroic. It's self-actualizing. /3
Read 13 tweets

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