A few years ago we rented the animated movie Teacher's Pet. At one point in the movie, the protagonist, Spot, shows his skepticism to Mr. Jolly's assertion that something is a coincidence by shouting, "Kawinkydink, Mr. Jolly?" Ever since then, any assertion of a coincidence in my family is rejoined by a robust "Kawinkydink, Mr. Jolly?"
This past Tuesday I held a regular quarterly management meeting with some Regional Administrators and their staffs. We discussed the data we had on air quality this year and, in particular, the number of times the air in some cities has exceeded ozone standards. For instance, despite temperatures being similar to last year, the standard was exceeded more times this summer in Milwaukee, Detroit and Chicago than last year. (I should note that the air quality in all the cities we looked at is greatly improved over the last five years – we were just doing a comparison to last year.) We decided this was largely caused by weather factors other than temperature (e.g., changes in prevailing winds, or a lack of wind altogether) rather than something we had control over. So no change in our current actions or priorities was required.
After the meeting I went back to my desk and started going through my mail. As luck would have it, the first item I picked up was a report from the Clean Air Act Advisory Committee entitled Recommendations to the Clean Air Act Advisory Committee: Air Quality Management Subcommittee, Phase II Recommendations. I flipped to a random page (page 24) and the first thing I read was:
Recommendation 3: Improve accountability mechanisms – Improve accountability by systematically monitoring progress and evaluating results, by ensuring that data collection is meaningful and feedback loops exist so actual environmental results inform the future allocation of resources and the establishment of priorities.
Kawinkydink, Mr. Jolly?