Over the past few months I have been fairly critical of the path President Obama has taken in dealing with some of our most pressing problems - the oil spill, the financial crisis and overall government accountability to name a few. As a Democrat I was excited to see a person who appeared to have some interest in helping normal people and making the government work come into office. Obama seemed very capable and showed a coolness even in times of crisis that appeared reassuring. Unfortunately that coolness has also made his first few years in office fairly ineffectual and may cost him the next election.

That’s not to say there haven’t been major accomplishments. The Administration passed some of the biggest legislative changes in the last 40 years in the health care bill and the financial reform bill. He’s also invested more in clean energy than all of his predecessors combined. If there is anything in these bills and initiatives that will actually help normal people or make our country better off is still yet to be seen, and probably won’t have an impact for at least the next few years.

But here in lies the problem - even when the Administration accomplishes something big the results can’t be immediately tracked or determined in a meaningful way. And the demonstrated coolness from the Administration gives the appearance that nothing substantial has been accomplished, even to people like me who want to find examples of his success.

Coming in, Obama promised accountability, promised to make sure working middle class people didn’t get screwed, and that change was coming. He then proceeded to let Congress control the agenda, and ended up with watered down proposals and lacking legislative changes that progressives and conservatives alike could take issue with.

This is the polar opposite of what’s happening in New Jersey right now. Chris Christie, the new governor, has only been in office for 6 months, but no one would question his accomplishments to date. Even his opponents would say he is an effective leader that is inspiring change. I won’t go into all the examples of the legislative initiatives Governor Christie has made since he came into office, they have been well documented in this blog and other news outlets. I do believe that his leadership style encompasses four policies that you normally never see in politics. Those include:

1. Holding people accountable
2. Firing those who are not
3. Naming Names
4. Not expecting others to support you

One of the most important things I realized early on in my career is that you can’t expect the facts to speak for themselves. Even when I have presented the most motivating business case to a customer, I know there will be a chance they will not make the right decision, because non-business factors existed. The same holds true in politics. Where President Obama has expected common sense and cooperation to prevail, Governor Christie has assumed it will not. Out of the two, Christie’s approach makes a lot more sense.

I don’t agree with all the changes Governor Christie is making in New Jersey. He often comes off as a blowhard that uses a sledge hammer to bang in a nail, and tends to picks fights that aren’t worth the battle (Google Christie AND Snooki). However, I would never question his effectiveness or his intent to do right by the people of New Jersey. Pending some ridiculous scandal, I would also never question his ability to get re-elected, even in the blue state of New Jersey. The President could learn from his example.
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Joe Payne

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  1. Weed Society of America ( WSSA ) has compiled a "rogue gallery" of 10 poisonous weeds (species of hemlock) which are problematic.

    1. Poison hemlock (Conium maculatum) is a biennial weed with fern-like leaves which can easily mistaken for parsley. It is in the carrot family. Plant produces deadly alkaloid coniine - a neurotoxin that disrupts
    the central nervous system. Ingesting in the smallest amount can result in respiratory collapse and death. To identify poison hemlock is by the purple-red blotches on the stems.

    2. Waterhemlocks (Cicuta douglasii and Cicuta maculata) are also native perennials in the carrot family. They grow in wetlands and marshes and are easily mistaken for a variety of edible plants, including
    young carrots, wild celery, watercress, wild ginseng and particularly parsnips. It produces a substance called cicutoxin that stimulates the central nervous system and trigger violent seizures.

    3. Oleander (Nerium oleander) is a woody shrub planted in suburban landscapes and along roadsides. It produces poisonous substance which can cause heart arrhythmia and cardiac arrest. One should not
    burn oleander branches because the fumes can be hazardous.

    4. Bittersweet nightshade (Solanum dulcamara) is an invasive weed related to tomato and potato plants. Juice from wilted leaves is deadly. Do not eat green berries, which turn red to purple in color when it

    5. Common pokeweed or pokeberry (Phytolacca americana). All parts of this weed are poisonous – especially the roots.

    6. Pennyroyal (Mentha pulegium) is an invasive species in meadows or wet areas. It is known as an insect-repelling herb and sometimes used as a tea. It is even found in some health food stores as an herbal
    medicine. If too strong a tea is made from the leaves. It can cause liver damage, lung damage and death.

    7. Meadow deathcamas (Zygadenus venenosus) and other deathcamas species are native perennials in the lily family. They tend to grow in forests or meadows. All parts of the plant are toxic. That includes
    its bulb, which is easily mistaken with edible wild onions. The difference between the two is that deathcamas lacks the odor of an onion.

    8. Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea) is an escaped ornamental plant that produces tall stems ringed with colorful bell-shaped flowers. The soft leaves at the base are mistaken for comfrey or sage but lack the
    smell. This weed is very poisonous. It produces a chemical that can speed up and strengthen heart contractions. Top leaves are potent too.

    9. Groundcherry (Physalis spp.) is related to tomato and potato family. Leaves and unripe fruit are poisonous if ingested. Ripened fruit loses its toxicity and can be eaten. One species of ripened fruit -
    Tomatillo is used in Mexican salsa.

    10. Jimsonweed (Datura stramonium) is in the tomato and potato family. Jimsonweed produces seeds that are highly hallucinogenic and can trigger bizarre and violent behavior. It produces a dangerous
    poison that can be fatal to humans and animals.

    So be careful in eating any unknown items. Please consult or research trusted sources before putting anything in your mouth.

    -Yagnesh Out!

  2. Research has shown that sunshine vitamin D plays a role in many more bodily systems than just the skeletal system. Deficiency can produce numerous diseases, from cardiovascular disease to multiple sclerosis to complications of pregnancy. All of this new attention has made vitamin D a very popular supplement.

    The human body was designed to get most of its vitamin D through exposure to the ultraviolet (UVB) rays of the sun— the same rays that cause sunburn and skin damage. “Inactive” vitamin D is derived from cholesterol and “waits” in the skin tissue until the skin is exposed to sun. (Cholesterol is produced by the liver, so consuming dietary cholesterol is not necessary for vitamin D production.) UVB rays set off a chain reaction in exposed skin that continues in the liver and finishes in the kidneys, where vitamin D is activated and sent out to tissues throughout the body. Active vitamin D is one of many body hormones, chemical messengers that regulate body functions.

    Research has shown that too much sun rays exposure produces skin cancer. This is a dilemma. You need to be careful in taking a sun-tan.

    -Yagnesh Out!

  3. Choosing wisely your third party vendors for insurance and 401 K
    For lots of companies, purchasing the naming rights to a professional sports arena is the pinnacle of success. The company name is displayed on news cast, newspaper when there is a sports event in the field.

    In Nashville, Sommet Group owned the naming rights to the hockey arena - the Sommet Center which was the home of NHL's Nashville Predators from 2007 to2010. It is now called the Bridgestone Arena.

    Recent revelation shows that Franklin, Tenn. Based Sommet Group was a shaky successful organization.

    Sommet a third party vendor who managed HR functions including payroll, employee benefits and other administrative services. Sommet is now under investigation by the FBI, IRS and Department of Labor for misappropriating funds that should have been used for medical claims, 401(k) claims and payroll, according to court documents. The company's headquarters was raided recently. Sommet is being investigated for potential wire fraud, money laundering, embezzlement and false healthcare statements.

    Allegations like this remind us the importance of doing due diligence in choosing vendors that they are legitimate and strong foundation based.

    -Yagnesh Out!