September 25, 2016

You Changing My What

So change agents are some of the most sought after...yet most abhorrent individuals on this planet. 

We all recognize that things can be better, and on one hand, we want someone to come and help us make it so...a change agent!

However, change is painful and frequently results in unintended and unwanted consequences, and so on the other hand, we hate change agents. 

Many change agents may not just change things that need to get changed and fixed, but they may change a lot of things that were working just fine before, thank you.  

Can anyone say reorganization? 

Moreover, change agents may not be changing things for the right reasons like the good of the organization.

Instead they may be self promoters, control freaks who have to do things their way, or they may be serial job hunters--next stop change everything and get the heck out of Dodge!

Change agents may work with people to get requirements, input, and vet the issues and the solutions or they may just be paying lip service to others, only to really shove their or someone else's agenda down your throats. 

You see there is healthy change that is based on genuine learning, growth, and maturity, and then there is change that is destructive, diabolical, and selfish. 

When you decide to change something, what's your motivation and your goal--is it to right the wrongs in the organization, reengineer business processes, and introduce new technologies or is it to change for change's sake alone. 

Yes, we did something. Check the box. Tell the management committee. We earned our keep and oh yeah, then some. We changed something, anything. Hip Hip Hooray. Bonus time!

So either you'll get an award and promotion or you'll get asked accusingly and threateningly, "Who told you to change that?!"

Change which has no real support or merit is dead on arrival (DOA), and will be gone, gone, gone long after the change agent is gone.

So don't freak out--the b.s. changes are either going to kill the organization or simply end up in Fresh Kills landfill.

The real changes may actually make you stronger. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 24, 2016

Computer Luminaries


I wanted to share these photo that I took at Micro Center, a computer and electronics store, outside Washington DC. 

On the wall are these pretty awesome photos of many of the founders and inventors behind modern-day computing. 

1) Doug Englebart - the GUI and Mouse

2) Dennis Ritchie - C and Unix

3-4) Dan Bricklin and Bob Frankston - Visicalc and Spreadsheets

5-6) Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard - HP 

7) Gordon Moore - Intel

8) Grace Hopper - First compiler that led to development of COBOL

9-10) Robert Khan and Vinton Cerf - TCP/IP

11) Steve Wozniak - Apple I and II

Of course, the following deserve a place of the wall of fame as well:

12) Steve Jobs - Apple

13) Bill Gates - Microsoft

14-15) Larry Paige and Sergey Brin - Google

16) Jeff Bezos - Amazon 

17) Mark Zuckerberg - Facebook

On one hand, these are people like you and I, who live, feel joy and pain, and one day die. In the end, we're all just flesh and blood, plus a soul that is our moral compass. 

But on the other hand, G-d has given some people special gifts to pass to mankind, like a master painter, musician, inventor, or holy person, whose worldly works are as near to G-dly as perhaps we can get outside of Heaven itself.

G-d must have a plan for us as he sends us these people--or more like angels--to guide our development and our destiny. 

Whatever G-d wants from us, we're definitely on a course to get there and that is comforting and a ray of hope for all of us. ;-)

(Source Photos: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 23, 2016

Big Government Turnaround

So I took this photo of a handout being distributed at a major local university here in Washington, DC.

Sort of ironic for this sign that says:
"Big Government Sucks"

...to be handed out in the capital of the United States of America!

It would make sense that this negative notion of big government is connected to the low approval ratings of Congress (17%) and government services (64.4) provided.

People are seeing and sensing that big government is bad government when it is:

- Dictatorial, corrupt, and discriminatory. 

- Mired in fraud, waste, abuse, and coverups. 

- Self-serving for the politicians that are elected to serve the people. 

- When it is bureaucratic and ineffective. 

- When it is confused and without vision or plan for the country. 

- When it's indecisive, makes bad decisions, or can't successfully execute short- and long-term on it's mission. 

- When it is lacking in basic values of democracy, freedom, and human rights for all. 

At the same time, big government can be great government, when it is a beacon of light for its citizens and for the nations of the earth. 

- When it protects us from dictators, demagogues, terrorists, weapons of mass destruction, criminals, and all sorts of disasters.

- When it holds strong and cutting-edge the economy, prosperity, innovation, education, and competitive advantage of the nation. 

- When it safeguards and keeps sustainable the environment for future generations. 

- When it preserves and fortifies freedom, human rights, social equity, equality, and justice. 

- When it looks after the needy and less fortunate.

- When it lead the world in exploration, discovery, partnerships, and ultimately doing good for the people, the planet, and our future. 

Big government sucks when it goes wrong and then they start handing out these sad signs on our nation's premier college campuses. 

This is a big problem to turnaround?  

But with smart, committed, and moral leadership, it can be done! ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 22, 2016

Did You Know You're A Sinner

So walking down the street here yesterday, I ran into a sign and was handed a postcard, declaring:
"Sin Awareness Day"

Then I was confronted by a gentleman (or not so gentle) who proceeded to explain to me that I--and everyone else--are sinners!

Innocently, I ask, "Well, what have I done?"

The missionary answers with a stern face, "I'm sure you have lied!"

I said, "I don't think so," but then to play alone, I smirked and said, "Well what if I did?"

He answers and says, "You'll need to repent!"

Thinking that Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year) is right around the corner in a couple of weeks, I thought to myself, hey that's right in line with where I'm going anyway...

The guy continues--of course--to try to enlist me to his "savior" that he believes can save us from all our sins. 

I challenged and said, "Well, how about Moses?"

He roars back, "Moses?!!!" and starts railing on about "convert, convert, convert." 

Uh no, thank you, I am fine with the faith of my father, and grandfathers, and great grandfathers, etc. 

And I appreciate if we can avoid the forcible conversion parts of yesteryear from various empires, caliphates, crusades, and inquisitions, with no shortage of associated torture, executions, and expulsions. 

Then breaking this historical context and glancing at the back of the postcard that he handed out, I did like this one thing that it said:
"Sin is not primarily a measure of how bad you are, but a measure of how good you are not."

Heck, why be negative about ourselves (we are not inherently bad); instead see that we not living up to our potential and try, always, to do better. 

In that I am definitely a believer!  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 21, 2016

Heads Down, Pants Down

If you put your head down in the global sand, then eventually your pants are going to get pulled down too, and you are going to get royally scr*wed (or should I say scr*w things up). 

And that's exactly what's happening to the reputation of the U.S. here and abroad.

Domestically, another 3 terror attacks just over the weekend in New York , New Jersey, and Minnesota.

While overseas, a humanitarian aid convey is attacked in Syria destroying 18 trucks and killing 20 people, and this after being coordinated with Russia, in advance.

And despite our touting our own horn of achievements at the UN yesterday, in the Wall Street Journal today, the former prime minister of Denmark and secretary-general of NATO is crying out on behalf of the world and imploring the U.S. to once again lead in the world, stating:
"We desperately need a U.S. president who is able to lead the free world and counter autocrats...right now, the [global] village is burning...we need a policeman to restore order; we need a firefighter to put out the flames."

He goes on as to the consequences of the apparent reluctance to lead:

- "Middle East is torn by war"

- "Libya has collapsed and become a breeding ground for terrorists"

- "Resurgent Russia has brutally attacked and grabbed land by force from Ukraine"

- "China is flexing its muscles against its neighbors"

- "Rogue state of North Korea is threatening nuclear attack"

Oh, and I think he forget this one, but another WSJ piece captured it:

- "One year after Iran deal, Iran's right's violations and aggression continue [unabated]"

But aside from fighting terrorism and despots in the world, even when it comes to fighting for critical civil rights, there is weakness and disillusionment (today from Jason Riley in the Journal):
"By almost any traditional metric,--home-ownership, median incomes, labor participation, poverty--blacks are worse off today than they were at the start of Mr. Obama's first term." 

This country cannot lead with it's head down and it's hands tied!

It's way past time to pick our heads up high and buckle our belts and get back in the ring to fight with belief and determination for what is right for us and the world. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 20, 2016

United Nations UNjust

Now I understand what the UN (as in United Nations) really stands for...

It's predominantly UNjust and corrupt!

The United Nations Secretary once again today called out Israel for it's "occupation that grinds into its 50th year."

This builds on the other 2,342 times that the UN General Assembly has called out this "occupation" of land that Israel acquired when it's neighbors (Egypt, Jordan, and Syria) went to war against it in 1967 (after the prior wars of annihilation against Israel in 1948 and 1956).  

And yet as of June 2015, the UN Human Rights Council has condemned Israel 61 times--more than all other nations on this planet combined!

It's not only UNjust and hypocritical, but underlying it is the core of anti-Semitism for this body that is supposed to be based on equal rights, self-determination, and universal peace.

Ultimately, it's not an occupation that the UN is trying to deal with, but a preoccupation to deflect how wholly ineffective it is in every genuine major conflict in the world.  

Here are just some examples of the gross inaction by the esteemed UN when it comes to these occupations/militarizations (again, just to name a few):

1) Russia in Georgia and Ukraine

2) China in the South China Sea

3) India in Kashmir

4) Turkey in Cyprus

Moreover, just to put all this in perspective, where is the UN (or the prior League of Nations or other world leadership) when it comes to the hosts of genocides and ethnic cleansing estimates at below: (and this list doesn't even include the horrifying death tolls from the countless unjust wars, dictatorships, political unrest, purges, repressions and slavery):

Nazi Holocaust 11.0M

Ukraine 4.6M

Cambodia 2.1M

Bangladesh 1.7M

Armenia 1.1M

Rwanda 1.2M

Indian Partition .6M

Syria .5M

Greek .5M

Brazil .4M

Croatia .4M

Darfur .3M

Cambodia .2M

Pogroms .1M

It seems like the United Nations, if in the habit of shameful occupation name-calling and prejudiced resolutions, has missed the boat on millions being slaughtered and occupied around the world. 

Maybe it's time for the UN to stop picking on the minority, Jewish people (.2% of the world's population and with the Holy Land state the size of New Jersey), and start dealing with the real big problems in this world or maybe they just can't handle that. 

(Source Photo: here with attribution to United Nations)

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September 19, 2016

Globs of Fat

So I went to get my flu shot today in the office. 

Yes, it's that time of year to start getting ready for Winter and all the germs that come with it. 

Anyway, while I was at the health center, they had this model of what body fat looks like. 

It was sort of just laying right on the table in the waiting room--yeah a big ick! 

It said:
"Globs of FatThis glob represents the look and feel of 5 pounds of body fat."

And this thing was enormous, bigger than someones hand, maybe even two hands. 

There was some text about another 1 pound piece of body fat, but I didn't see that lying around anywhere (and frankly the 5 pound glob was enough to get the point without comparison). 

This fat demonstration would make practically anyone want to chuck the carbohydrates and forever.

Pizza, pasta, bread, rice, potatoes, cereal, crackers, cookies, cakes--be gone!

Having recently done this myself, I can really appreciate how important this is and also how hard it can be. 

The food industry has us addicted to this crap and really it should be illegal. 

The high carb diet in America is truly of epidemic proportions and is potentially catastrophic to our health and longevity.

The only thing that glob of fat is good for is tossing it out the window and into the garbage dump. 

A high carb diet that makes people fat is death and we want to live! ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 18, 2016

Should We Care What Others Think?

So I was talking with someone and they were telling me how self conscious they feel about what others think of them.

They said when they were in school, they were picked on, bullied, labeled, and made to feel different and excluded.

Whether it was their hair that was different or their lunchbox that got taken and hidden from them, the other kids were relentless. 

Now in life, they are still dealing with all those feelings.

Do they look right? 

Are they educated enough?

Is their profession something others will admire them for?

And on and on. 

And at a certain point, I said, "Isn't it more important what you think about yourself than what others think about you?"

And they said, "Sure, but I still feel like I have to live up to other people's standards. I don't want them to think bad about me or talk behind my back!"

I understand this way of thinking is based on trauma from the past and feelings of inadequacy and not fitting in. 

And we can spend our whole lives chasing this illusive acceptance from others. 

Or we can decide to pursue we what believe in and love, and to find healing in the good we do, rather than the nods or winks from others that we receive. 

If we are trying to live up to somebody else's arbitrary standards of perfection, cool, or being in the in-crowd, we may never be good enough.

Instead, if we pursue what we know is right from our moral compass and our heart and soul, and always do our best, we will attain the satisfaction that comes with healthy self-development and maturation. 

Seeking unconditional acceptance and love can definitely leave you feeling frustrated, self-hating, and even quite alone. 

But accepting yourself, developing yourself, and giving to G-d and to others will always leave you feeling fulfilled. 

Forget living as if your in the fishbowl, and strive for the Superbowl of achievement through incremental progress and goal attainment in your life. 

Start with making yourself proud and the others will come around. And if for some reason they don't, it's truly their deficiency and loss and not yours!

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 17, 2016

Body of Armor

So had some disappointments recently.

Nothing terrible (and for that I am so grateful). 

Just life happening. 

Have to fail and fail and fail {more}...in order to get to that single success. 

Along the way, sometimes it feels like arrows going through your body.

Or as someone said to Tina Fey in a movie we watched yesterday:
"Hearts and minds, the two best places to shoot someone."

Is that funny? 

Ok, now I know that I am feeling a little down, because even that made me smirk but not fully smile. 

It's okay.

Life is a series of peaks and valleys. 

Time to climb that next peak. 

I will do it with body armor on and solid. 

Won't let those arrows pierce me, while I ascend.

I am trying, and learning and growing along the way.

If I am to fall, Hashem, in mercy, pick me up that I may keep doing my mission you have for me in life, so that I may ultimately prevail toward the destiny only that You know and have planned for me, for the good. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 16, 2016

State Of U.S. Relationships

(Click To Enlarge Graphic)

Here is the current state of a sampling of U.S. relationships with other countries around the world.


As the "superpower" and as a people who strongly value freedom, democracy, and human rights, as well as a people mainly of faith, we have the obligation to do good in this world. 

Also, we recognize our imperative to maintain strength and promote peace, prosperity, and betterment for all mankind.

We have some enormous challenges ahead, and we had better be up to it. 

There is a lot riding on this! ;-)

(All opinions my own)

(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 15, 2016

Enslavement USA

I am not sure what this art was supposed to represent outside the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, DC.

But to me, this scene looked almost like a reenactment of enslavement. 

I remember seeing similar type photos of presumed harshly treated black slaves who were forced to build the White House and the Capitol

Sure, we are fortunate to have jobs for people in this country.

Yet, seeing these workers bending over and shoveling in hard labor and in 91 degree heat this week at the feet of this great statue just seemed more than a little demeaning and telling of where we unfortunately still are as a country. 

Freedom and human rights means for everyone!

Decent jobs, wages, housing, food, healthcare and education, should be for everyone!

Maybe it's a great thing that we are advancing with automation and robots that can do the jobs that people shouldn't have to do.

So people can do and be treated as human beings and not as robot slaves. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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September 14, 2016

Jane Confronts Tarzan

Thought this was pretty funny.

I went to the gym to do some lifting. 

And low and behold, someone had left this funny message:

"Dear Tarzan,
Please put the heavy weights back so I can move the bar up and down."
Thank you,
Jane"

How creative a message was that!

Tarzan and Jane, nice sense of humor. 

Effectively asks for what she wants--put away the weights when you're done!

Is polite about it--please and thank you.

Must've worked because the bar was unencumbered and moving up and down fine, and there was no leftover heavy weights to be found. 

A little thoughtful note can go a long way. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 13, 2016

We Watch The Years Go By

On a lighter note today, I took this photo of a couple watching their kids playing soccer.

They are sitting in Dick's chairs. 

His (blue) and hers (pink).

Very cute!

The new generation grows up and supplants their elders--who still may feel "young at heart!"

As I get older, it definitely seems like time goes faster (and faster). 

It isn't that some days aren't long, but that overall the less time we have as we get into the latter portions of our life, the quicker it all seems to be passing.

So much so that it all becomes like one big dream (it should never be a nightmare, G-d forbid). 

If only we could rewind and redo the portions of our lives where we made mistakes, hurt others or ourselves, or could have just done better.

I'm not sitting in those chairs yet, but when I do, I hope it is with pleasure of heart, mind, and soul--with G-d's mercy. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 12, 2016

Cough, Concussion, Coverup, Conspiracy


We never want anyone to be sick, and of course sincerely wish everyone well.

But we are at a critical juncture for America and 330 million people here as well as those in the rest of the world looking to us for global leadership: 

First it was needing help up the stairs.

Then it was exhaustion

Then it was threats to reporters for saying she was low on energy

Then it was a conspiracy

Then it was a cough.

Then it was allergies

Then it was overheated and dehydration

Then it was fainting

Then it was a belatedly-announced (from Friday) pneumonia.

Then she's "feeling great...and it's a wonderful day in New York."

Then it's time to cancel her campaign trip to California

When the story keeps changing for doctoring Hillary, and the campaign avoids the emergency room and transparency...is there something for America to be concerned about when it comes to our Presidency.

Are desperate times calling for some to commit to desperate national lies?  ;-)

(Source Photo: Dannielle Blumenthal)
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Keeping Perspective

I thought this was a good photo to depict the importance of keeping perspective in life.

It is easy for any of us to "get bent out of shape" over big and little things alike. 

But if we sort of zoom out a little and see the larger perspective of things then perhaps we can realize that while our problems may be big for us, they are really small in comparison to the bigger picture or G-d's eye view. 

Yes, to us, little can be big, and big can be little, but if we could just recognize that we are part of something so much more, we can get that finer-tuned perspective on what's truly important and what's more trivial. 

It doesn't mean that our feelings of hurt, pain, loneliness, or injustices in the world are not important. 

They are significant for us to try to deal with them and make things better. 

Yet, we cannot go back in time and right all the wrongs, and we cannot change all the things about ourselves that we'd like to in a presto change-O wave of the hand moment. 

Life, change, and improvement are incremental. 

Sometimes, we make progress only then to fall back some. 

But overall, we need to keep the momentum of positive change for ourselves, forward.

But why are we even here? 

My wife said something the other day as follows:


"We are here in order to learn why we are here!"

Sounds confusing, but really maybe it's not. 

Our souls are sent here in the temporary vessels of our mortal bodies.

We are here so we can spend time here in this complex and interactive world, and learn from our relationships, positively and negatively with each other. 

The learning corrects our soul's imperfections and makes us better human and spiritual beings and brings us closer to G-d. 

At the same time that we are here, we should make it as pleasant as possible for ourselves and each other (but not over-the-top in a nihilistic and debauchery type of way). 

Stay fit, support yourselves and your family, live reasonably comfortably, so that you can pursue your karmic-driven learning and growth toward inner perfection. 

Like Buddha, we seek to purify our souls before they return to our Maker. 

In the realm of things, we are a very small microscopic human insect, but in the bigger picture, we are part of the ultimate magnanimous giving of opportunity to fix and maybe even come close to perfecting ourselves to be more like our beautiful and merciful Creator. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 11, 2016

Exceptions To Every Rule

Fair or not, some of us have to live by the rules and others do not. 

As in all history, we have a class society--there are:

- The kings and the commoners. 

- The lords and the vassals and serfs. 

- The elites and the commoners. 

- The majority and the minorities. 

- The rich and the poor. 

- The haves and the have nots.

Or any other number of variations of this.

Recently, with Hillary Clinton and her multitude of scandals, there was some shock that even in modern-day America, she was able to get off scot-free.

And in this great democracy of ours, it was understood to shut up, or else, for not toeing the line. 

The message to everyone was clear: while "the little guy" is made to pay the price for mediocrity, there are some people that will always be above the law!

It was funny-sad, because we don't want to believe that anyone can really escape from justice--that it can be beaten--although at times, we just have to acknowledge that justice may have to wait and come in the next world from the true Master of All. 

Today, coming out of my building, a dog from a neighbor started jumping (playfully) on my leg and barking--it was sort of hard to get out of there. 

The problem with this scenario was that my building doesn't allow dogs.  

So out of curiosity, I stopped someone in the building and asked innocently, "I thought dogs are prohibited in this building?"

"Oh yes." they answer, but seeing this lady with the active dog, they continue, "That lady has an exception from the board!"

We sort of all looked at each other, because this was not a service dog or anything like that, and it obviously seemed unfair that for her there was one set of rules, and for everyone else, another. 

Yes, there is an exception to every rule...some people can basically do what they want by virtue of their power and money or by who or what they know (i.e. can anyone say lots of skeletons in the closets).  

So while the little guy gets locked in stocks and pillories and the key thrown away for maybe the littlest of misdeeds, others are the exception to the rule--and may even become the Commander In Chief.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 10, 2016

Needed, A United and Strong America

(Click on graphic to expand)

(Source quote here and graphic adapted from here with attribution for photo to Josh Kesner)
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September 9, 2016

To Evil ISIS

I was thinking of holding this photo for "the next" big terrorist attack (G-d forbid). 

But it's just two days before 9/11, and I thought of all the victims of ISIS terror and said, why wait.

So this is to memorialize all the victims of ISIS, Al-Qaeda, Hezbollah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Taliban, Boko Haram, the PLO, BDS, and other vile terrorist groups.

For all the victims--men, women, and children--you brutally and ruthlessly:

Beheaded.

Crucified.

Hung.

Shot.

Stabbed.

Stoned.

Threw off of Roofs.

Burned Alive.

Ran over with tanks and other vehicles. 

Poisoned. 

Abducted.

Raped.

Tortured.

Imprisoned. 

Enslaved. 

Sold.

Made refugees. 

Bombed. 

Gassed.

For the mothers and fathers you made childless.

For the children you made orphaned.

For the husbands and wives you left widowed. 

May the one G-d in heaven recompense you for all your evil deeds, may he thwart all your plans and attempts to harm, kill, and destroy, and may he thrust his heavenly spear of judgement through your devilish hearts and straight into the endless depths of Hell. 

(Source Photo: America)
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September 8, 2016

Best Diplomacy Shirt

I took this photo in the Metro, so I apologize for the poor lighting. 

But never-the-less, to me, this wins for best diplomacy shirt. 
"Respect All
Fear None"
In dealing with others at home and abroad, we must respect everyone. 

And this is not just paying lip service to others while really giving a tacit nod to derision and divisiveness.

Rather we need to have genuine respect for all people, cultures, religions, freedom and human rights. 

At the same time, we must fear no one. 

We need to carry a big stick, as my grandfather used to say.

That along with plenty of carrots (but used strategically and not wastefully) to positively influence the good in others. 

The point is that disengagement, appeasement, and weakness benefits no one. 

Rather, it encourages violence, destruction, and refugees, and global disorder. 

It's time to stop fearing and running, and to make a firm stand for good and meaningful things that we really believe in.

We are not the police of the world, but we are smart, and good, and powerful, and will project and use that power wisely to ensure that good prevails over evil, always. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 7, 2016

Shooting Blanks

Like this joke gun, this unfortunately is our national standing as a paper tiger in the new world order.

Just this last week...

1) China: "To diminish the US," our President is forced to disembark from the underbelly of Air Force One, because they wouldn't give him mobile stairs, let alone a red carpet welcome, while they continue the illegal buildout in the South China Sea threatening freedom of navigation of the seas. 

2) Russia: Russia stares down our President and ignores 17 U.S. overtures to end the more than 5-year civil war in Syria that has cost over 400,000 lives, made 5 million refugees, and over 8 million more displaced, and let's not even talk about Ukraine. 

3) Iran:  For the second time in as many weeks, Iran has sent numerous speedboats to harass U.S. Navy ships in international waters in the Persian Gulf, and this after it was just disclosed that we sent 2 more plane loads of cash to Iran--3 in total for $1.7 billion to "leverage" another hostage release by Iran--and after we chased them on a deal to remove sanctions on their dangerous nuclear WMD development. 

4) North Korea: 3 more midrange ballistic missiles were fired from North Korea toward the Sea of Japan in a continuing escalation of hostilities there on top of prior long-range and submarine-based missile launches further threatening the U.S. 

5) Laos: Even in the traditionally friendly country of Laos, the President is snubbed by terrible name-calling and insults and is forced to cancel his meeting with their leader. 

6) Trade pacts:   Whether your looking east or west, both the Transatlantic Trade Deal (TTIP) and the Transpacific Partnership (TPP) are dead, while Brexit is a fait accompli, the setback to the world economy, trust, and collaboration is tangible. 

7) Terrorism: The "U.N. warns of growing Islamic terrorist threats" as more than 500 have been murdered in the last 6 months alone from Belgium to the U.S., and the threat growing from a more decentralized worldwide terrorist apparatus, as well as the potential employment of weapons of mass destruction

Whether with regards to other world powers or global alliances, our standing in world affairs in troubling at best and seriously threatened at worst.  

As long as we are shooting blanks of blue stardust, we will continue to lose credibility, respect, and the ability to effect positive change and influence in an increasingly dangerous world. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 6, 2016

Requirements Management 101

This was a funny Dilbert on Requirements Management. 

In IT, we all know that getting requirements can be like pulling teeth. 

No one either has time or desire to provide them or perhaps they simply don't know what they're really after.

Knowing what you want is a lot harder than just telling someone to automate what I got because it isn't working for me anymore!

In the comic, Dilbert shows the frustration and tension between technology providers and customers in trying to figure out what the new software should do. 

Technology Person: "Tell me what you want to accomplish."

Business Customer: "Tell me what the software can do."

In the end, the customer in exasperation just asks the IT person "Can you design [the software] to tell you my requirements?"

And hence, the age old dilemma of the chicken and egg--which came first with technology, the requirements or the capability--and can't you just provide it!

(Source Comic: Dilbert By Scott Adams)
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September 5, 2016

The Beating Of Life's Drums


So this was some awesome drumming at the Renaissance Festival today.

The beating of the drums was powerful and in a sense mesmerizing. 

It moved the people to sway, to dance, and to feel the power of the moment. 

In life, as they say, we all sort of move to a different beat--our own beat!

Recently, I had the experience to meet someone who was a truly wonderful person, but who came from a very different geographical, religious, and cultural background. 

There just seemed to be so many misunderstandings as a result, and it wasn't because anyone was being hurtful or a bad person. 

Rather, we were dealing with good people, who just had very different expectations of each other and of life. 

The beat was there--like a heartbeat, but the beat wasn't in sync, so in the end, everyone decided it best to go their own way in blessing, and find the life that would met their needs and where the beat was going to be in tune for them. 

In a sense, while we are all the same, yet we are all subtly different whether by nature and/or nurture, we come to situations and to each other with different viewpoints, distinct needs, as well as specific ways to satisfy them and grow us. 

Good and bad is beyond the point.  

Two hearts beat as one and that is a miracle when it happens. 

At other times, two hearts beat each other in their differences and maybe in exasperation and finally in sorrow.

The beats are strong and we search for the beats that uplift us, mesh with us, and make us better when we're together. ;-)

(Source Video: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 4, 2016

The Evil Stink Eye

So there is an important Jewish (and non-Jewish) concept of the evil eye (in hebrew, it's called an "Ayin Hara").

This is the idea that people who are jealous of you or simply don't like you, can wish bad (or evil to befall) on you. 

And the more people or the more merits these people have in life that cast this evil wish (in mystical terms, some may call it a spell), perhaps the stronger the potency of it on you. 

Superstition or real? This is a matter of what you believe in and maybe experiences you've had in life have taught you to beware of when others don't wish you well. 

This is why many righteous people try to avoid the limelight--they don't want others to focus on them and harbor bad feelings toward them. 

Better in a sense to remain more private and discrete than suffer the evil eye of others. 

If we understand that there are not only physical powers in the universe, but also spiritual and metaphysical ones, then we may choose to protect ourselves by shielding ourselves from the public eyes of jealousy and hate.

Others may choose to do extra charity, prayer, and good deeds in an effort to protect themselves from competitors and antagonists in life. 

It's funny, but when my wife sees someone she perceives giving another the evil eye, she calls it, "The stink eye!"

And truly, it does stink that people can be so mean and hateful to others, but unfortunately, not everyone in life is nice and good.

It takes all types, and that is why it's critical to avoid those evil glances, feelings, and thoughts of others.

Hurt can take many forms--words and deeds are the two that we recognize most often. 

However, we shouldn't discount the harm that thoughts and feelings can cause as well. 

The mind and spirit of humans can reach out and up to the Heavens, and so we must live our lives good to G-d as well to people, and Bli Ayin Hara (without the evil eye) for blessings and not for curses. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal) 
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September 2, 2016

Polarized = Broken!

As a country, we need to be very concerned at how ridiculously polarized things have gotten. 

It is one thing for right and left to disagree, but still practicably negotiate, compromise, and forge a united and decided path forward.

And it is quite another for the polarization to become so deep-rooted that it becomes obstructionist to our national security and progress. 

Unfortunately, we are beyond the point where large portions of the governing of this country has become fundamentally go nowhere and do nothing

Whether from immigration control to closing Gitmo, from reducing the national debt to tax reform and robust economic growth, from funding the fight against the Zika virus to developing a meaningful space exploration and colonization program, from controlling the proliferation and dangers of weapons of mass destruction to sensible policies on gun rights/control, we are deep in political gridlock. 

The result is lots of executive orders and regulations, but little significant lasting legislation, abiding decisions, or national momentum in any particular direction. 

Our red lines are erased and our finish lines are grossly undefined--we are becoming a nation aimless, adrift, and without directed and meaningful goals.  

Further, in the process of mental, emotional, and global disengagement, we have alienated our friends and embraced our foes and confused everyone in between. 

Moreover, our inconsistency and weakness has made us less safe and emboldened the resurgence and militarization of deadly adversaries like Russia, China, North Korea, Iran as well as radical Islamist terrorism

As a nation, we cannot be ruled by spectrum divisiveness between Democrats and Republicans, between races, between genders, between socio-economic classes, between religions, and between the public and the police.  

There are two critical things we need to bridge the huge divide that is engulfing us: 

One is strong leadership with the integrity that can be respected and followed by everyone on all sides of every aisle.

Two is focused commitment to our underlying values of democracy, freedom, human rights, entrepreneurship and innovation.  

When we have leadership that unites rather than divides, and we maintain our good and fundamental identity then once again, we will be able to go forward together towards peace and prosperity for not only ourselves, but ultimately the progress and good of the world. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 1, 2016

Great New Kosher Food In Washington DC


So nice to meet this impressive young Jewish women today, Carly. 

A Sophomore at GW University, who had the brainchild for more and better kosher food options in Washington, D.C. 

Hence, Brooklyn Sandwich Company food truck. 

The kids are lining up for their whole brisket sandwiches on a pretzel bun with broccoli slaw and many other kosher sandwich and soup treats. 

This is awesome opportunity for some terrific kosher food in America's capital. 

Great job to Carly and Rabbi Yudi Steiner!  ;-)

(Source Video: Andy Blumenthal)
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