Handwriting on the wall; how hard could
that be to read?

Whether it is graffiti or an advertisement, a flyer or
a concert announcement, the words on a wall should be readily understood. Most
words on a wall are important. They name something like a building, business or
they inform of a pending event.

It thus behooves us to be attentive to words on a wall.
Rejecting words posted in full public view on a sign, billboard, NYSE stock
ticker or on Facebook should come only with due consideration and a clear sense
of understanding of what the words mean, for ignoring their warning may be

Where did this metaphor of the prognostic power of handwriting
on a wall come from? Most believe it comes from the Bible (what doesn’t?) and
the 5th chapter of the Book of Daniel when King Belshazzar uses
golden plunder from the Temple in Jerusalem during a feast and a disembodied
hand writes on the wall of the room: “Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin”. No one
understands the writing and only Daniel, a Jew, can interpret it as meaning the
end of the current king’s reign. The details are less important (please do read
the original in your favorite version and language), but the king couldn’t read
the handwriting on the wall until it was interpreted for him and the
interpretation was not good for the king.

This leads to the present day metaphor of those who
cannot understand the obvious that is right in front of them and the obvious is
not good news at all. Thus, mural dyslexia is the inability to read the
handwriting on the wall. It is a potentially fatal affliction for leaders who
have it.

President Obama suffers from mural dyslexia. Once
again, he and his team seemed unable to interpret the obvious consequences of
their Rose Garden strategy in which Sgt. (you can call me Private) Bergdahl’s
parents were wheeled out to the press despite clear evidence that their son may
not exactly be a war hero. Susan Rice then goes on Sunday talk TV and makes a
fool of herself—again. Even Diane Feinstein, a supporter of the President, is
having trouble containing her displeasure in the White House plan to keep
Congress in the dark about the five for one exchange with the Taliban (aren’t
these the guys that just shot up an airport in Pakistan?) I think that we can
safely say that both the President and his aides suffer from mural dyslexia.

So does the President of MD Anderson.

President Ron has done enough wrong since his start in
September of 2011 to have long ago learned what not to do in order to get a
program off the ground and show progress before taking on the faculty over
nothing. Instead, he turned down the unanimous advice of the Promotion and
Tenure Committee at least 3 times according to the Chronicle. Why?

You really have to be a glutton for punishment to get
into a pissing match with the faculty over PTC issues which are clearly within
the purview and peer-review of the academic faculty.  If the PTC goes 16-0 for a tenure renewal,
just shut up. Instead, DePinho chose to have a food fight about this by using his
veto pen. Talk about mural dyslexia!

As I have said repeatedly, neither President Obama nor
President DePinho has shown the judgment to continue in his current position.
Interestingly, it is far clearer how to replace President Obama than the
President of MD Anderson. Either way, rampant mural dyslexia is not compatible
with continued leadership of the US or of MD Anderson.

If you want to see the consequences of mural dyslexia
at work, read the rest of The Book of Daniel. 
The dyslexic king had a tough night. Of course, so did Daniel. Then
again, so did the lions.

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