December 9, 2016

Reconstituting The Water Of Antarctica

So Antarctica is the 5th largest continent of 7 in the world. 

It is 5.4 million square miles, and it is larger than both Europe and Australia. 

But it has only a temporary population of 5,000 people, mainly researchers. 

About 70% of the world's fresh water is held in the Antarctic ice sheet, which is 90% of all the world's ice. 

And the ice there extends 7,000 feet thick.

If all the ice would melt, the global sea levels would rise 2,000 feet!

Despite 95% of models over the last 30 years predicting the ice sheet melting due to global warming, it actually continues to expand.

It's a paradox for the science community, but one of the explanations is that as ice shelves break off, they actually forms a protective barrier for the new ice being formed along the main ice landmass. 

Even with global warming, the average temperature in Antarctica is still -35 degrees Fahrenheit, and most parts never get above freezing. 

So here's an idea--rather than fear global warming, is there an opportunity to use it and advance it, if only we can channel the effects of it for the good of humanity. 

The Antarctic Treaty System prevents nuclear weapons explosion there, but wouldn't that be a cool way to melt some ice and get some fresh drinking water for this thirsty planet or even to somehow move to MARS for colonization there?

Also, we could place solar mirrors in space to redirect sunlight to melt the ice--that's either some probably some pretty big mirrors or the dispersion ray of a space laser(s). 

The key now is to get the water to where you want it to go and not to destroy by massive flood our worldwide seaboard cities--and that's where a mass molecular transporter comes along. 

There is still much to discover and invent, but when it's done, I think we will definitely be heading to Mars and beyond.

Really, we have to, there is no other long-term survival choice for humankind. 

And perhaps, G-d placed the survival pod for us right under our feet at literally, the southern most point of the world, Antarctica! ;-)

(Source Photo: here via Wikipedia)
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December 8, 2016

Graffiti Blood Fashion

Thought this was a really cool fashion design skirt that I saw in Neiman Marcus.

Aside from all the colors, the design is just eye-taking.

Almost like graffiti on a skirt!

Hey, I think that would make a great business for someone(s) by the way.

Give me a call...and we'll start it up and make a $ billion--I hope!

Seriously, this skirt is so interesting with a scare theme of monsters, heart, teeth, and blood.

But the fright is quickly turned into envious fashion style as a complete standout item.

Gorgeous design and style, and I definitely see a fashion trend emerging here big time. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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December 7, 2016

The Most Important Word Is AND

So as divisiveness continues to plague us. the option for acceptance, love, and coexistence is falling out of the favor and by the wayside. 

Division and conflict has been accentuated by the ugliness of the most recent election and representative political divide, economic and gender inequality, inner city violence, racial and religious tensions, worldwide terrorism, and global conflict from Syria to the South China Sea. 

This has even infiltrated the functioning of our government, social institutions, and free media big time, where vetting, negotiation and compromise, critical thinking, and fair, balanced, and investigative journalism have been largely jettisoned. 

There is no place anymore to go hide from bias, bigotry, and hate. 

But as the wise proverb goes things truly are not just black and white, but there are loads of grey everywhere

Many people are not good or evil, left or right, blessed or cursed.

Instead, most people are a mixture of this AND that. 

How much of the complex mix of different elements is what makes up the integrity and life of the individual, group, and organization we are dealing with.

But what's important is that you really can't just stereotype people, ideas, or actions as simply good or bad because in reality, they aren't.  

Each person and position has elements of good and bad in them...nothing and nobody in life is perfect. 

You take the good and the bad in everything from relationships to policy decisions. 

So it is certainly possible and even probable to be conflicted and confused about what we see and hear--and not only because of the bias and prejudice in how it is presented or portrayed, but rather because things are not just simple, one or the other propositions, but rather a combination of things we approve of and disapprove of. 

Our brains can have lots of trouble dealing with this complexity, because we are wired in terms of survival of the fittest, and that often means choosing a action based on split-second categorizing of people and things as friend or foe. 

As the mere shadow of the person or idea is upon us, we are asked to respond--do we run or fight it or do we lovingly embrace it as it overtakes us. 

Choose wrong and you can be badly hurt or even dead. 

But we are forced to make these quick and bold choices without always having the luxury of time, the patience, or wherewithal to stop and recognize that things and people are a combination of things we like and agree with and others that we dislike and vehemently oppose. 

If we could just keep in mind that most things are not just good or bad, right or wrong, but good AND bad, right AND wrong, then we can make more astute and fine-tuned designations of what we think something really is and isn't and how to handle it, live with it, and faithfully coexist with it. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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December 6, 2016

The Planetary Colonization Imperative

I read something so simple yet profound from theoretical physicist, Stephen Hawking (The Guardian).

First, he enunciated many of the threats we face these days, including:

- Accelerating technological change [I would elaborate that these include more advanced weapons of mass destruction and the means to deliver them]

- Automation, [robotics,] and rise of artificial intelligence

- Economic inequality, mass migration, job destruction, [and divisiveness] augmented by immersive social media that accentuates "Instagram [and Facebook] Nirvana" versus the real poverty and struggling of the masses, 

- "Environmental challenges: climate change, food production, overpopulation, the decimation of other species, epidemic disease, and acidification of the oceans."

In one sentence then, Hawking says it all about the high level of risk we face:
"We now have the technology to destroy the planet, but have not yet developed the ability to escape it."

His call to action:
"Perhaps in a few hundred years,  we will have established human colonies amid the stars. but right now we have only one planet. and we need to work together to protect it [and develop the means to eventually be able to escape it for the survival of humanity.]"

In short, we must get to and colonize other planets as quickly as possible, because it the realm of history, it's only a matter of time and our collective lives are depending on it. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal Via National Geographic)
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December 5, 2016

Ending Up As A Rock

So some people would say ending up as a rock is not a bad thing. 

A rock symbolizes strength and something that weathers time itself. 

However, it's one thing being alive and a rock and another being dead as one. 

Fidel Castro, the authoritarian Cuban President of 50 years, the revolutionary who defied the United State and brought us and the Soviet Union to the brink of nuclear war, the dictator who violated the human rights of millions of the Cuban people...and where does he end up?

Dead at age 90, cremated, with his ashed placed inside a 15-foot tall rock. 

That's what's left of the man. 

Of course, there is his legacy in Cuba that includes high literacy, universal health care, environmentalism, and competitive sport's teams. But there is also mass poverty and economic dysfunction, gross repression and human rights abuses, and Island isolationism. 

So perhaps with Fidel gone, over time, Cuba will find itself on a path of greater moderation and reform. 

In the meantime, Fidel is gone--like every other living thing comes and goes--no matter how strong he acted or how repressive he ruled, what is he now but a big useless rock with a nameplate affixed.

(Source Photo: Associated Press Via Wall Street Journal)
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December 4, 2016

A New Type Of Chocolate Chips

Ok, dieting is hard enough with all highly processed junk food out there these days. 

And everything is carbs, carbs, and more carbs...it's literally poison for the body. 

But when you go into the store and see Lays chocolate covered potato chips...this just brings you to the verge of sin. 

The top are milk chocolate covered potato chips, and the bottom ones are dark chocolate covered ones. 

Choose your poison?

This is definitely a new type of chocolate chips...Hershey's eat you heart out. 

I told my wife pleadingly, "Can't I just taste one?" ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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December 3, 2016

Dysfunction Is The Starting Point

A very smart speech today in synagogue by Rabbi Haim Ovadia. 

He connected to this week's reading from Genesis in the Torah.

It was a commentary about our forefathers and mothers and what the stories in the Bible teach us. 

As we know, these people while righteous and holy, were not perfect people or families. 

Thinking about these, some examples that come to mind about the many tests, challenges, and tragedies in their lives:

- Adam and Eve eating the forbidden apple in the Garden of Eden

- Noah getting drunk and his son, Ham, seeing his nakedness and telling his brothers

- Abraham and Sarah's doubting (i.e. laughing) that G-d would give them a child

- Isaac lying to Avimelech about Rivkah being his sister (similar to what Abraham said about Sarah)

 - Jacob buying the birthright and stealing the blessing from Esau

- Shimon and Levi killing the people of Shechem for Hamor raping their sister

- Joseph's brothers being jealous of him and throwing him in the pit and selling him into slavery

- Judah sleeping with Tamer, the wife of his firstborn 

And so on. 

Rabbi Ovadia said we should keep 4 things in mind about the Biblical figures and families to learn for our own:

1) Context - There is a context to what we do. We all have histories that involve difficulties, challenges, illness, abuse, PTSD, and so on.  The things we do and how we react later in life are anchored in this context. 

2) Dysfunction - Every family (and I would add person, organization, and institution) is dysfunctional.  There is no perfection out there (except G-d). Functional would mean like a computer, we input-process-output towards a certain function.  However, as people, we are not automatons, but instead work out our dysfunction through our striving to love, have relationships, learn and grow. 

3) Responsibility - Whatever our challenges and dysfunctions, we are responsible for what we do--our actions.  We can't just blame history or others.  Our role is to face up to our lot in life and take responsibility for what we do.  It our life and circumstances to make or break us. 

4) Communication - In dealing with life and it's challenges, communication is key to dealing with things. I would argue that communication is just a part of many critical success factors like trust, determination, hard work, emotional intelligence, being giving, integrity, etc.  But certainly, communication is a key aspect in how we work out our issues with others and try to build function from inherent dysfunction. 

The honestly of the Bible in telling us the flaws of it's heroes and heroines--our ancestors--is one of the things that make it such a source of wisdom for us as well as demonstrating the truthfulness of it being G-d given to us.

The bible doesn't sugarcoat who we are and what we have to deal with--it is the Book of G-d that is a roadmap for us to learn from and do good with in our own lives. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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December 2, 2016

Some People Got Money


So we're in the mall, and right when you walk through the doors is a car in the entrance hall. 

This one is a lovely two-tone 2016 Rolls Royce. 

At just a measly $384,025!

Honestly, the car looked awesome. 

This was no Hyundai or Yugo.

The thing looked like a tank of art on wheels. 

What is amazing is that such an expensive car is on display in the mall...I mean who is the demographic they are trying to appeal to for this?

Well maybe it's not that bad, since another sign advertises a lease option for just $3,469 per month plus tax for 48 months with $30,000 due at signing...so that still runs you over $50K per year to drive this thing. 

Well I guess if you earnings millions, what's the big deal anyway!

And out of curiosity, as of 2009, almost a quarter million IRS filings (people and households) show earning of that much or more...nice for them, huh. ;-)

(Source Photos: Andy Blumenthal)
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December 1, 2016

Love The Flags

So while we were in Florida, we went into one of the many art galleries. 

And on the wall was this painting of the Israeli Flag with the Star of David and inside was a beautiful red heart. 

Out of curiosity, I inquired how much this was and the lady says, "Oh, that is $55,000!"

While we were impressed with the painting of the Israeli flag and what it represents as one of America's greatest allies and friends, we must've looked really puzzled at the price, because the lady goes, "Well, of course it's worth it!  It's by Peter Max, the most famous artist in the world."

My wife and I nodded and left the store, and immediately were asking each other why every gallery says with a straight face that the artist that they represent is the "most famous in the world."

Anyway, at the same time this was going on we were following in the news about the controversy with people burning the American flag and the question of whether this is just an expression of free speech or something more that should be prohibited as disrespectful and unpatriotic or even traitorous to the country. 

In that respect, the flag that represents our values, beliefs, and patriotism is valuable beyond pure artistic sense or money, it is who we are and what we love. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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November 30, 2016

An Ironic Cabinet Lineup {humorous}

[Please only read this with a sense of political humor.]

Here are some funny ideas for domestic and foreign picks for a fantasy Cabinet team:

Department of Defense - (Oh no) Russian President Vladimir Putin because he knows how to fight and win wherever he wants. 

Department of State - (Oh no) Julian Assange because he has so may of the cables anyway.

Department of Treasury - (Oh no) President Barack Obama because he doubled the national debt to $20 trillion and it's no problem.

Department of Commerce - Chinese President Xi Jinping because he has most of the world's manufacturing and the biggest trade surplus. 

Department of Justice - (Oh no) James Comey (with all due respect) because he could investigate Hillary Clinton and deem her "extremely careless" with national security and yet also do the job of the prosecutors and recommend that "no reasonable" one would bring such a case. 

Department of Education - (What if) Sergey Brin and Larry Page because they made Google the most valuable company in the world by organizing all the world's information and making it universally accessible and useful. 

Department of Labor - (What if) Ken Jennings who was beaten in Jeopardy by IBM's Watson, and understands that artificial intelligence, automation, and robotics will soon be eating people's lunch. 

Department of Homeland Security - (Oh no) Edward Snowden because he already knows all about surveillance--how we conduct it, how to evade it, as well as the vulnerabilities in our security. 

Department of Transportation - (What if) Elon Musk because of his leadership in electronic vehicles here on earth as well as rockets to even get us to Mars. 

Department of Energy - (Oh no) Iranian President Hassan Rouhani because he knows how to get his nukes while ridding his country of sanctions and getting $150 billion to continue global terror

Department of Agriculture - (Oh no) Any of the notorious drug kingpins because they know how to grow it, distribute it, and make lots of money doing it. 

Department of Interior - (Oh no) North Korean leader Kim Jong Un because he manages one of the most remote (Isolationist) nations on Earth and does it with virtually complete self-sufficiency. 

Department of Veterans Affairs - (Oh no) Bowe Bergdahl because he was charged with desertion and still managed to get honored in a White House ceremony.

Environmental Protection Agency - (Oh no) Former CEO of BP John Browne because he knows the ramifications of being responsible for one of the worst polluting industrial accidents in history in the Gulf of Mexico.

Housing and Urban Development - (What if) Ivanka Trump because she is an absolute class act and helps run one of the greatest brands in building and managing real estate worldwide. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal via National Geographic)
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November 29, 2016

A Failed Presidency?

Every day we are reminded about the dysfunctional state of our national affairs.

The dictum of the Hippocratic Oath of" first do no harm" that medical students are taught is the very minimum expectation, but has even this been met?

The Promise vs. The Delivery

1) Promised reset with Russia - Delivered a resurgent Russia in Ukraine, Syria, the Baltics, cybersecurity, and more.

2) Promised red lines in Syria - Delivered more than 5-year and counting deadly civil war with chemical weapons, more than 500,000 dead, and millions wounded, displaced, and fleeing as refugees.

3) Promised end of war in Iraq and Afghanistan - Delivered continued troops and war in both with not an end in sight. 

4) Promised good deal with a moderating Iran - Delivered bad deal with continued aggressive Iran violating the agreement and on the path to reaching nuclear weapons.

5) Promised easing of ties with an opening of Cuba - Delivered one-sided deal and a continued hard-line communist Cuba abusing political opponents and human rights.

6) Promised defeat of ISIS terrorism - Delivered continued ISIS global terror (and it's not workplace violence).

7) Promised closing of GITMO - Delivered GIMTO still open for business with dozens of dangerous terrorists. 

8) Promised a more unified America - Delivered a more divisive nation with raging inner city violence and civilian and police shootings.

9) Promised Obamacare affordable health insurance - Delivered unsustainable double digit premium growth and pending repeal and replacement.

10) Promised Dodd-Frank improved accountability financial reform - Delivered burdensome highly-regulated financial system stifling banking and lending leading to either significant scale back or complete repeal and replacement. 

11) Promised peace in the Middle East--Delivered a barrage of missiles, terror tunnels, shootings, stabbings, vehicular attacks, and arson for our friend and ally, Israel.

12) Promised government transparency to the American people - Delivered obscurity to the "media echo chamber" and devastating political email scandal and Benghazi fiasco. 

13) Promised fiscal and budgetary responsibility via Sequestration - Delivered a doubling of the national debt in 8 years to 20 trillion dollars! ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal via USA Today)

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November 28, 2016

Who You Gonna Trust?

We start out life as innocent children with inherent trust in those that care for us. 

It is nice to feel safe, loved, and cared for by people who dote over your every gurgle, smirk, fart, and spaghetti sauce smear on the face. 

As people grow older and have negative experiences however, they become more guarded and jaded by what they learn about other people's motives and agendas and how vulnerable and hurt they can get. 

Unfortunately, these days kids have to fear from pedophiles, parents that are addicts and wildly abusive, and teachers that let out their emotional problems on children that look up to them for guidance and education. 

As we get older, there are bullies in school and thugs on the street. 

And even in the office, there are those that abuse their positions of power and can make life miserable for the regular hard-working Joes not looking for any problems.

In relationships, spouses that cheat on one another and the resulting breakups have heart-wrenching effects on families. 

But perhaps, what is even worse than individual people that can hurt us are when the very institutions that are the bedrock of our society become corrupt and abusive of their authority and result in our loss of trust in them.

Already in 2010, trust in government was reaching new lows of 19%.

By 2014, trust in corporate America had eroded to just 36%.

Similarly, in 2016, trust in the news media fell to all time lows of 32%.

Reading about the clutching unto power of Fidel Castro's dictatorship for half a century in Cuba did not seem that far a stretch after seeing the powerful and dangerous political machine here in our own U.S.A. working to keep people in the seat of power almost at any cost to the country and the people. 

What was good for people was clearly last place to what was good for the ruling elites not just in Cuba anymore!

Similarly, the notion of a fair and balanced media went out the window with this last election, where investigative journalism became an oxymoronic term and idea. 

As for corporate America, outsourcing, shoddy goods, inflated advertising, short-term profiteering, rigged governance, and oversized pay packages to the C-suite left a handful of socially-conscious corporations stranded on a desert island of greed and raw capitalism.

Neither children nor adults are victims or sheep to be bullied or manipulated by abusers and manipulators in society. 

A free press so needed to keep corruption in check in the rest of public and private sector society has itself been infected by the bug of bias, bigotry, and personal agendas. 

Who can we trust when evil can overtake good temporarily to break bodies and souls of it's victims?

Ultimately, the people have the final say in keeping the wrongs in society from taking deep root and not letting nasty "big brothers" do the really bad things and take us down the wrong paths.

There are good people with integrity that we can trust, maybe just not everyone we'd like to. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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November 27, 2016

Escalating Iranian Threat To World Peace



Iran is spreading it's caliphate ambitions across the Middle from Iran to Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen and more. 

As the #1 world sponsor of terrorism and abuser of human rights, there is reason to be concerned and afraid of Iran's intentions and actions. 

The ISIS terror and caliphate may end up paling in comparison to the threat of a dangerous fundamentalist Iran with emerging nukes, ballistic missiles, and a fearsome spreading caliphate of their own. 

Now Iran conveniently claims that radiological material, Iridium, was stolen, and where it ends up exploding no one yet knows, but we can guess the likely targets.

What wonderful plausible deniability for a suitcase WMD bomb horrifically placed and detonated by Iran, themselves. 

As Israel is burning, Aleppo is being flattened, Mosul fighting is raging street by street, and terrorists are plotting ever greater strikes into our heartlands, we are sitting here dumb and dumber. 

Please G-d, he will restore peace to our lands and people.

May He grant our leaders the wisdom to act as necessary, with due speed and agility to defeat our enemies whether ISIS or Iran and not be fooled by agreements not worth the ridiculous paper they are written on. 

(Source Video: Andy Blumenthal)
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November 26, 2016

The Nature of Charisma

So what's with charisma?

Is it like they say, either you have it or you don't?

The power of personality, your energy, your aura, your chemistry, your strength in connecting with others, your ability to influence people and to move them in thought and deed.

Truly, for some people, you would follow them into the battlefield or the boardroom.

And for others, you know they're no good and you'd probably just as soon do the opposite of what they say since you don't believe in them and what they stand for.

Today, I was expecting to see a special chabad Rabbi in Florida, but they were up in NY--I missed them having not seen them for many months.

I was disappointed, even though I really enjoyed the other people and the services that I attended. 

Some people...there is a magic to them...a genuineness, a warmth, a centeredness, with certain integrity, and driven to something greater. 

We need people like this in our life.  

Of course, we have G-d, always.

But we also need other human beings that move us.

People with charisma often make awesome leaders. 

It not about them remember, but rather about the mission they and we are on together. 

And being a mensch to other people. 

A real smile, a warm embrace, a kind word, a caring nature, a giving soul, a person with belief, someone who can inspire and motivate.

These people are rare, but when you find them, they are gems.

They are a blessing among us.

The last thing we need though is a false messiah, but rather the real McCoy to work with us to reach new heights of greatness, achievement, and happiness in life.

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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November 25, 2016

What Is Peace + Happiness?

I loved this piece of art work with the colorful Buddhas.

It got me thinking about peace and happiness--is it the same for everyone?

To one person, career, achievement, and money seems to make happy--as one of my friends told me about one of his extremely successful bosses who heads a large corporation and has not 1, not 2, not 3, but 4 mansions on the water, in the mountains, and overlooking Central Park in NYC.

To another person, it's being able to do what they want to in life--doing what makes you emotionally happy instead of what you have to do; the freedom to choose and to be passionate about what you do and how you spend you time every day--whether it's a profession, an activity or sport, or even exploration and travel.

Yet others, find peace and satisfaction in spiritual and religious pursuits--joining the clergy or learning about G-d and philosophy, doing G-d's commandments or helping his creations by doing good deeds. 

Many of course, find peace and get nachas from their families, the loves of their life, their beautiful children and grandchildren, and helping the next generation to grow and prosper after us. 

That can also extend to friends, community, and even colleagues--when we surround ourselves with other good people, those who we enjoy their company and have things in common, then we can find happiness with each other.

Being here in Florida for the holidays, I'm reminded of all the sun, beauty, and body-worshippers, those people who love their physique and good health, working out, looking good, being with others that look good, and even designing and making things that are beautiful. 

And at the other end of the spectrum again are the intellectual nerdy nerds who get their energy from being brainiacs like one of my friend's nephews who is one of silicon valley's serial innovators.

Whatever you love, have, and do that makes you happy is something to be extremely grateful for.

Nothing is forever, and nothing is owed to us.

Use the gifts that G-d has given you with the wisdom to reach enlightenment by being good and generous to others and so that you truly merit these beautiful things and thank the creator who blessed you. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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November 24, 2016

Appreciating Employees @ Holiday Time

So before the holidays, like Thanksgiving, many nice organizations try to do a little something for their employees and let them go home a little early.

It’s a small something that let’s people know they are appreciated, and on top of it, they get to “beat the traffic.”

I heard from someone that one organization was stopping this long time practice, saying that only the very head(s) of the chain of command, could do this for the people…but they didn’t.

Sort of “penny wise and dollar foolish” to take away that little spot-on giving to one’s staff. 

It’s goodwill, appreciation, and kindness that is especially appropriate before the holidays for hardworking and good people. 

One manager told me how their people especially looked forward to this little gesture, and often came to asking about it with such joy.

So the manager told me that they just said before holiday times, “I’m not looking what time you leave today.”

To me that sounded like genuine leadership, where people are not just treated as “human resources,” but instead “human capital”—something to invest in and not just something to use `willy nilly. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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November 23, 2016

The Political Spectrum

(Click to Enlarge Graphic)

Even though the election is over...divisiveness in America is as high as ever, if not at all time highs.

We're seeing it hurtfully in terms of bias, bigotry, and hate all around us:

- Protests, outright hostility, and violence (some sponsored) between left and right.

- Murders of police officers and African Americans betwixt the rise of Black Lives Matter.

- Calls for justice to "Lock her up" and defiant calls of "Not my President!"

- Labeling of people as bigots and racists amidst calls to "Make America Great Again."

- Conspiracy theories of links with Russia juxtaposed with Wikileaks of collusion against Bernie Sanders

- Powerful political machines, operatives, media handlers, fundraising, advertising, and big data to "get out the vote" for your candidate. 

- The blue wall falling in the election as working-class whites abandoned the party they felt abandoned them.

- Gender glass ceilings, pay differentials, and inequality going up against the hope of a first female President of the United States. 

- Growing income and wealth inequality of the elites and trade imbalances with other nations amidst Occupy Wall Street and a nostalgia to return our manufacturing, jobs, and main street to America. 

Divisiveness of race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, wealth and more are showing up in the positioning of people along the broad political spectrum. 

This spectrum spans from ultimate control and dictatorship to outright chaos and anarchy, and with lots of options in between. 

So where do you fall on the political spectrum yesterday, today, and how about tomorrow? ;-)

(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)
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November 22, 2016

Good IT Gone Bad

So over and over again, good IT goes bad in a flawed decision-making process. 

Even with the best laid plans and governance processes in place, somehow decisions get politicized, go bad, and projects fail. 

Here are some of the popular reasons why this happens:

1) Someone has something to prove - Often their is a person incoming to power who wants to show off what they can do. Instead of focusing on what is best for the organization's mission and people, they put themselves first. IT becomes not a tool for efficiency and effectiveness, but rather as some project rushed through for someone's resume and narcissist career progression. Time to add another notch on your IT belt!

2) Someone used it, saw it, or heard of it someplace else - So why follow a structured decision-making and vetting process for new technology, when Joe Schmoe already has the answer of what we can use and what we should do. Perhaps, Joe Schmoe used the technology in another place and for another reason, but that's what he knows and instantaneously, he's the maven, subject matter expert. Or maybe, Joe Schmoe attended a vendor conference or read a trade mag on the airplane and now he is guess what, the all-knowing on the topic. Get ready to pull out your wallets to pay for the wrong thing for your needs and organization, but it's okay becuase Joe Schmoe assured you it's great!

3) Someone wants to use technology like a Swiss army utility knife - Let's just buy this amazing tool; it can slice, dice, chop, mince, or Julienne; actually there is nothing this IT tool can't do. Buy it and use it for all your technology projects and needs. Why buy specialized tools, when you can have one that does everything--it will be your data warehouse, cloud provider, handle all your transactions, and be your artificial intelligence all in one.  Don't worry about the complexity, integration, training, support or how good it does any specific thing--just trust us!

In general, it shouldn't be so easy for leadership to get sold and fooled by the wrong people with the wrong agendas. Yet, these things seem to take off like a speeding locomotive, and if anyone tries to step in front of it, career splat for some unfortunate well-meaning character!

Some leaders and organizations only seem to learn by making the same IT mistakes again and again--it's costly to their mission and to their stakeholders, but someone is making out like a bandit and it's on their dime. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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November 21, 2016

You Can Take This Niqab And...

So here is the quote of the day (compliments of the Wall Street Journal)...

From a woman fleeing the inhumane treatment in Mosul by ISIS religious terrorists:


"I want to take this niqab and stuff it down the throat of ISIS."

I've now read over and over again how one of the first things the women do, who get away from these ruthless fanatics, is to remove their confining "religious"-mandated garb that covers them so fully and put on normal clothes and be free human beings again.

While I certainly and highly respect women who freely and modestly cover up--especially in marriage--it is abhorrent to violently force women to dress a certain way or make them in any way lessor than or subservient to men. 

The women under ISIS are taught to be ashamed, when they have nothing to be ashamed about!

ISIS and these other radical Islamists that force their distorted version of religion on others goes like this when it comes to women:

"It is permitted to buy her, sell her, and give her away as a gift. They are just a possession and you can do whatever you want with them."  In their FAQS, they even ask, "Can I have sex with a slave who hasn't reached puberty?"

Yet, while they are having sex with abducted pubescent and pre-pubescent girls, they force women to stay at home, and they are not allowed to go out unless accompanied by a man (forget education, working, driving or traveling). 

Even at home, "Woman are cautioned to stay away from rooftops, balconies, and windows so they wouldn't be seen by outsiders."

And should a women be accused of sex outside of marriage--even when the women are the ones forcibly (gang) raped--they are the ones subject to death by public stoning for their being licentious. 

Are these "religious" fanatics with guns so weak that they fear sexual temptation more than they trust in the bonds of family, personal righteousness, and the ability of people to freely choose right from wrong?

Imagine...as they abduct and enslave women and children, rape them, sell them, and force them into bogus marriages, starve and torture them, these people actually think they are religious. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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November 20, 2016

Tiny House Capsule


We enjoy watching Tiny House Hunters on HGTV, but this is even better!

The Ecocapsule is an awesome 88-feet of pod living

Haul it on a simple 4-wheel trailer and plunk it down. 

It has a solar roof and wind turbine that powers up its battery for up to 4 days.

Plus a rainwater filtration system feeds your faucets, toilet, and shower. 

There is a bed for 2 as well as a cooktop, work desk, and modest storage space. 

It's minimalist living at it sleekest and best. 

Only $86K from Slovakia and you're off the grid and living free.

Can't you just see these while eggshells dotting the landscape?

When everything in the world goes to hell, these little pods could be providing sustainable living to survivors. 

All we need is some cool defense gadgets and this could work! ;-)
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November 19, 2016

The Softer Side of Trump

So Trump has gotten a lot of flack. 

Some of it is deserved for saying the wrong things or saying them too harshly. 

Some of it is because of the biased Media and the political machine that would seek to bury any opponent with truth or lies, it doesn't really matter when it comes to power!

But with Trump, one question that people are asking--which is a fair one--is why doesn't he soften it up now...especially since he has overcome all the odds, the media, the elite, and Hillary's potent political machine?

Peggy Noonan asks today, why doesn't Trump "go to a series of schools, bring the press, and speak to children, telling them that he has nothing in his heart but the desire to do good and help people"?

Others, like the editorial board of the New York Times have called for Trump to "denounce the hate...[and] unequivocally repudiate...racist, sexist, xenophobic, Anti-Semitic, and homophobic insults, threats, and attacks."

While in my mind, I do not believe that Trump is those things--I think he has been misunderstood, mischaracterized, taken out of context, and even demonized; yet, I ask myself why doesn't he come out and simply build on his 60-minutes interview where he told people, "Don't be afraid. We are going to bring America back. But certainly, don't be afraid."

It's a simple thing to go further from this and tell people that he is understanding and compassionate to everyone, that he harbors no ill will to anyone, and that he wants to advance the country for all our benefits.

So I am sure, the haters on the left are saying, that Trump doesn't do this because obviously he really is all those bad things, and means bad by all those people, and therefore, he doesn't say those coexistence and loving things, because that's not what's in his heart!

But I am not convinced.

I think Trump is hard, because he has learned to be hard. That's his idea of what it takes to win. He is a fighter. He believes in winning. He doesn't apologize or grovel. He represents as his slogan, "Peace through strength!"

In fighting, Trump will do what it takes to "Make America Great Again,"--he will take down his enemies and ours, wherever they come at us from, but I believe always with an eye on the benefits to this country and for us. 

If he goes after good people (and those here legally) that would certainly be the time to call him out, and to do it in no uncertain terms. 

Bias, bigotry, and hate have NO place in this country (or the world)!

The left needs to stop denouncing Trump and all his supporters as racist, deplorables, irredeemables, etc. It is simply not true; it is biased and hateful itself, and counterproductive to moving this country forward. 

Crying wolf only dilutes the message of denouncing extremism, bigoty, and hate from when it is genuinely founded, and moreover, as in labeling theory, hate only begets hate. 

I say give Trump a genuine chance, even though I doubt many of the extremists on the left will give him anything near as much as the endless slack it gave Obama who could essentially do no wrong, ever (and regardless of how many things were falling apart in this country and around the globe). 

Still I agree that Trump should soften up--even as a fighter--he needs to show Ying and Yang and that the fight is ultimately one founded in integrity and not just winning. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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November 18, 2016

Telling The Next Guy

This was one for the books today.

Obama tells Trump that he needs to stand up to Putin (i.e. don't wimp out)!

Uh, who's the guy who has been in office the last 8 years? 

An during those years, our standing and national security has suffered from disengagement and utter weakness at virtually every turn of the globe. 

- We let red lines be violated in Syria and watched our Ambassador murdered in Libya

- Russia expanded into Georgia, Ukraine, and Syria, and now it's looking to Cuba and Vietnam.

- China has been rapidly militarizing into the South China Sea and expanding it's economic influence in Africa.

- We made the "worst deal in history" in Iran that allows them to eventually go nuclear!

- North Korea continues to expand it's nuclear arsenal and ballistic missile technology. 

- The Philippines told the President to "go to h*ll" and threatens to break from the U.S. militarily. 

- U.S. backed off support for democracy in Egypt after the military coup that overthrew Morsi

- Venezuela expelled our top diplomat and 2 other embassy officials ratcheting up hostilities with the U.S. 

- Cyberattacks have plagued the U.S. and we haven't been able to defend ourselves. 

- ISIS has demonstrated success and our strategy has not made them less dangerous and lethal. 

- After years of mounting terrorism, our leaders still refuse to even say the words, "radical Islam."

I'm not sure why people are so tempted to give advice and preach to others, when they themselves have so many failings. 

I think it's certainly okay to humbly share our experiences and lessons learned if we have any. 

But perhaps when you don't have the best record on something, as they old saying goes, you should refrain from throwing large stones in your very fragile glass houses!

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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