Likelihood of Success

Up the escalator at the 53rd Street station

Success is hard to define.  We think we know it when we see it.  But we seldom do.  In fact, more often than not we actually misidentify things such as material abundance, popularity or power as “success.”  They can in fact be correlative with success, but they are not success or even necessarily proof of success.

Bus stop in December

Thankfully as we get older this becomes more and more intuitive to us.  We learn to focus our inquiry when thinking about success.  The old maxim that “no man is a hero to his valet” reminds us that we are all ultimately only human.  The march of mortality as well prevents any illusion to the contrary from lodging with sustained firmness in any but the most unsuccessfully matured mind.  So we come to realize there are a lot of ways to define to success, to measure it, and to weigh it in terms of the overall picture of what or who it is we’re considering.

We also, it is to be hoped, stop fearing failure, and learn what it is there for, and how there is no success without it.Rockefeller Center

Now, this blog’s title is an allusion to one of the criteria used by courts to decide whether or not to issue a preliminary injunction in a civil litigation matter.  Typically the elements weighed by a judge are (a) a balancing of harms as between what will happen if an injunction does issue, compared to if it does not; (b) whether the harm sought to be prevented is “irreparable harm”–meaning the relief sought is the only way to compensate the party seeking it or whether plain old money will do the trick without too much guesswork or speculation regarding the harm done; (c) a consideration of whether the issuance of the injunction will be in the public interest and (d) whether the party seeking the injunction can show its likelihood of success on the merits of the underlying legal claim.

This last element requires a judge to do a quick once-over of “the case” presented to him and evaluate whether the party seeking the injunction has put forth a plausible and appropriately authenticated prima facie factual set of claims which, in the framework of the applicable legal doctrines set out by the plaintiff, looks like a winner.  Typically along with the issuance of a preliminary injunction, a court will require the plaintiff to post a bond, so that if something material turns out to have been misrepresented or misunderstood and harm results to the enjoined party, the court knows that party has recourse to the bond for compensation.

Blogging, however, does not require such profound undertakings.

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Bottoms up

Today is the Jewish holiday of Purim. (Unlike the biblically-based Jewish holidays, this is one, like Chanuka, on which I’m allowed to blog!)

As well explained in the Book of Esther, it’s the holiday of turnabout, surprises, false identities, intrigue, perhaps some emotional legerdemain, and not a little spiritual confusion. The outcome isn’t always funny, or even fun, except perhaps in the sense of the divine comedy.Purim mesiba, mesivta, New Jersey

It all comes around in the end, though!

One whale of a disconnect

I’m not someone who wants to see a killer whale killed just because it killed someone.  It’s what killer whales do, and of course Dawn Brancheau, the Seaworld trainer who was killed by an off-kilter orca yesterday, knew that well.  Still and all, there’s something not only circular but disturbing about the reasoning displayed in this AP article about the Seaworld tragedy:

Brancheau’s older sister, Diane Gross, said the trainer would not have wanted anything done to the whale. “She loved the whales like her children. She loved all of them,” said Gross, of Schererville, Ind. “They all had personalities, good days and bad days.”

In a profile in the Orlando Sentinel in 2006, Brancheau acknowledged the dangers, saying: “You can’t put yourself in the water unless you trust them and they trust you.” . . .

Howard Garrett, co-founder and director of the Washington-based nonprofit Orca Network, . . . . said Tilikum was probably agitated before Wednesday’s attack, possibly from some kind of clash with the other whales.

Gary Wilson, a professor at Moorpark College’s exotic animal training program, said it can be difficult to detect when an animal is about to turn on its trainer.

“One of the challenges working with any animal is learning to read its body language and getting a feel for what’s going on in its mind,” he said.

Right.  But here’s the thing:  If Dawn Brancheau wasn’t up to meeting that challenge–she who “loved the whales like her children,” and who knew their personalities, and the fact that they had “good days and bad days”–who is?  She was everything you would expect someone to be who is capable of “learning to read [an orca's] body language and getting a feel for what’s going on in its mind.”

So is the job of killer whale trainer at Sea World one in which you acknowledge the distinct possibility that you could do everything right but still get killed doing it?  That would not make such a job particularly unusual; millions of people do such work, and have a lot less fun at it than Dawn Brancheau did at her job until the sad day when it stopped very hard at being fun.  And not all such jobs are all that more “serious” than the one that took Brancheau’s life, or as economically productive either.

I’m not so much a “there oughtta be a law guy,” as I said in a recent post where I uncharacteristically said just that.  I don’t think there is a need for a law here, either.  It’ s hard to imagine choosing to risk death so you can do a whale show. But if it’s truly a choice, so be it.  That means, however, that if orca trainers and those like them are going to at least be said to have made their potentially deadly career choices voluntarily, they’ll have to think more clearly than at least the Associated Press wrote in lining up those quotations and leaving the obvious contradiction they raise hanging.

UPDATE:  A tad more rigor at Overlawyered.

CPAC thoughts

Not mine, mind you.  I send John Hawkins down to round everything up for me.  If I were to attend in person, the whole mystery persona would be shot!  Look what happens to Ron Paul, for example, when people actually look under that rock.  Yeah, there goes my putsch strategy.  So that’s right out.  But Right Wing News has just released the top 20 quotes from CPAC 2010.  I’m not even saying they’re even all safe for work–they’re not.

That’s the other reason I don’t go to CPAC.  Because I’m the last cultural conservative, remember?

Google Buzz: Can we still reclaim ourselves from the Net?

No, it’s not all good.

Years ago I wrote,  “Google is not a utility. Or an agent of the state, or a thing that owes anyone anything except to the extent they pay for it. At least for now.”

Out of nowhere comes Google Buzz.  It’s social networking that just appeared in your mailbox!  As Adrian Dayton said earlier today, “I feel a little bit like I have been “spammed” into joining Google Buzz.”

Here’s a chat I had this morning with social media consultant (not “guru”!) Brian Wallace, who is entirely responsible for everything I have achieved with (and nothing I have abused via) social media, and he is not a happy camper, either:

[2/10/2010 7:08:41 PM] Brian Wallace – NowSourcing: hi
[2/10/2010 7:09:08 PM] Ron Coleman: hi — just logging off, catching train — talk later!
[2/10/2010 7:21:57 PM] Brian Wallace – NowSourcing: safe trip
[12:13:52 AM] Brian Wallace – NowSourcing: when you’re up and about – really would like to talk about google buzz with you
[9:29:00 AM] Ron Coleman: Good, I actually logged on because of my rude departure with you last night
[9:39:32 AM] Ron Coleman: OK yeah so I saw your initial take on this yesterday AM!
[9:39:51 AM] Ron Coleman: I was imagining you probably are thinking it’s bad enough they already know everything else about us…
[9:39:53 AM] Ron Coleman: That was my guess.
[9:42:04 AM] Brian Wallace – NowSourcing: hehe
[9:42:08 AM] Brian Wallace – NowSourcing: google buzz you mean
[9:42:16 AM] Brian Wallace – NowSourcing: it’s freaking awful
[9:42:27 AM] Ron Coleman: well that’s what you starrting the conversation with yeah

[9:42:29 AM] Ron Coleman: awful as in?
[9:42:32 AM] Brian Wallace – NowSourcing: as in
[9:42:49 AM] Brian Wallace – NowSourcing: raping our social network for their “search quality efforts”
[9:43:03 AM] Brian Wallace – NowSourcing: i’m just getting nervous about what they are in charge of and how it all connects
[9:43:11 AM] Ron Coleman: Well I saw this coming when they started returning results from “within your social network”
[9:43:18 AM] Ron Coleman: Whoa!
[9:43:19 AM] Brian Wallace – NowSourcing: yes agree
[9:43:24 AM] Brian Wallace – NowSourcing: whoa what
[9:43:30 AM] Brian Wallace – NowSourcing: oh the raping
[9:43:38 AM] Ron Coleman: I don’t think anything can stop them from owning us all but a law at this point
[9:43:47 AM] Brian Wallace – NowSourcing: right
[9:44:57 AM] Brian Wallace – NowSourcing: search + web history + analytics + transactions + mail (and reading it, mind you) + chat (and history) + our sites + trusted connections/connecting the dots + docs (and don’t forget, now they let u upload any docs, not just goog) + wave (comic relief?) + deals with real time search + etc
[9:46:00 AM] Ron Coleman: It’s ironic though because these are all services that do on their own merit greatly — albeit in varying degrees — really benefit the user.
[9:46:14 AM] Ron Coleman: I LOVE being able to read an attachment in Google docs without having to download it…
[9:46:29 AM] Ron Coleman: But between Google and FB …
[9:46:50 AM] Ron Coleman: I bet they could do a pretty good virtual mirror of all our hard drives without actually ever taking an image.
[9:47:50 AM] Brian Wallace – NowSourcing: correct
[9:47:59 AM] Brian Wallace – NowSourcing: maybe i should do a post like

[9:48:04 AM] Brian Wallace – NowSourcing: has google gone too far
[9:48:10 AM] Ron Coleman: Maybe I should do a post of
[9:48:14 AM] Ron Coleman: this IM exchange
[9:48:16 AM] Brian Wallace – NowSourcing: and suggest how you can exist w/o using goog
[9:48:20 AM] Brian Wallace – NowSourcing: sure
[9:48:33 AM] Ron Coleman: Well maybe we can exist without it
[9:48:42 AM] Ron Coleman: but isn’t it too late anyway?
[9:48:47 AM] Ron Coleman: They’ve got “everything they need”
[9:49:12 AM] Brian Wallace – NowSourcing: we can exist without it
[9:49:23 AM] Ron Coleman: I never thought I’d be the one yammering “there oughtta be a law” over a mere private enterprise thing like this
[9:49:25 AM] Brian Wallace – NowSourcing: google is hurting from social, real time search etc
[9:49:34 AM] Ron Coleman: but I guess there oughtta be a law
[9:49:38 AM] Brian Wallace – NowSourcing: google does not have enough regulation
[9:49:41 AM] Ron Coleman: Not regulation per se though
[9:49:53 AM] Ron Coleman: I want across the board requirement as to deletion of data
[9:49:55 AM] Ron Coleman: say 60 days
[9:49:57 AM] Brian Wallace – NowSourcing: mostly because lawmakers don’t know the nuts and bolts likely
[9:49:57 AM] Brian Wallace – NowSourcing: ok
[9:50:04 AM] Ron Coleman: Once a user deletes something
[9:50:08 AM] Ron Coleman: it is DELETED
[9:50:09 AM] Brian Wallace – NowSourcing: right
[9:50:19 AM] Brian Wallace – NowSourcing: try that with facebook haha
[9:50:22 AM] Ron Coleman: Plus much more opt in on what they do
[9:50:22 AM] Brian Wallace – NowSourcing: we’re all for sale

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Blizzed out

I was not so impressed with this blizzard.  That’s just me, what can I say?  I hear down south, now, that was something else.

But I think it took some decent pictures in places like nearby Passaic, New Jersey, where I get off the train and, typically, drive to the evening service.

Aycrigg Avenue, blizzard

Ahavas Israel Synagogue, blizzard

Aycrigg Avenue view, blizzard

There are definitely some garden spots where a nice white coating of snow is just about right.

Attorney Ronald D. Coleman