If at first you don’t succeed, try insanity

The human capacity for perseverance can cause awe … or open-jawed puzzlement.

The seemingly endless presidential race brought this to mind. Repulsive as you might find one or both of the candidates, you’ve got to grant them this: They persevere.

Take a look at this video of Musician 1st Class Matt Stuver. You don’t improvise at that level on a difficult instrument like the piccolo without years and years of practice.

Talent provides the raw material....

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The human capacity for perseverance can cause awe … or open-jawed puzzlement.

The seemingly endless presidential race brought this to mind. Repulsive as you might find one or both of the candidates, you’ve got to grant them this: They persevere.

Take a look at this video of Musician 1st Class Matt Stuver. You don’t improvise at that level on a difficult instrument like the piccolo without years and years of practice.

Talent provides the raw material. It takes dedicated work to get this good. Naval perseverance extends to more central mission-related activities. Check out this video of Navy diver school and ask yourself whether you’d last two days or two hours.

In SEAL school, the trainees must complete one pool exercise in which they essentially drown for a minute before being hauled out and forced to start breathing again. They pass if they make it far enough to touch the pool wall. Perseverance may look crazy, but it depends on why you push.

Then there’s the case of a company called Latvian Connection. As Jason Miller reported, the company has filed some 500 protests over several years with the Government Accountability Office. It filed 150 protests this year alone!

The company may have a legitimate gripe with how agencies interpret or apply small business contracting rules. CEO Keven Barnes explained this all — in 18 emails. But all this protesting so p.o.’d the GAO that it banned the company from filing any more for at least a year.

It’s not clear the company actually does anything but protest. It sure does persevere at that.

Anybody remember the Inslaw case? When I first got to Washington in early 1991, I heard about it. The company’s principals, Bill and Nancy Hamilton, fought the government for 20 years over alleged misappropriation of its case management software, originally sold to the Justice Department in 1982.

The case got so convoluted it’s nearly impossible to sort out in less than 2,000 words. You can find several accounts online. Apparently, the company never was made whole. Yet today there’s a website, a list of products, and an address within a private home in Maryland for Inslaw. I couldn’t find any mention of the litigation.

When the Federal News Radio staff was gathered ’round an editing station marveling  at the piccolo solo, the news flashed on our wall monitors of the latest escapades of another who perseveres. None other than Anthony Weiner, the former New York congressman who finds sexting irresistible. He’s been at it again, as this lurid New York Post story details. But his understandably exasperated wife, Huma Abedin, was in no mood to persevere with their marriage.

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