September 30, 2015

Chabad Making A Difference




Beautiful job by Rabbi Yudi Steiner of George Washington University hosting the Chabad Sukkot Barbecue in Washington, D.C.

The Rabbi was there welcoming students and Jews from around town to a sweet BBQ luncheon in the sukah. 

And the students were making the blessing with the Rabbi on the lulav and esrog for the holiday.

As always, Chabad is out there making a difference in Jewish lives, helping them do mitzvot, and spreading cheer and unity wherever they are. 

We are so lucky to have wonderful Lubavitch chasidim all around the world helping Jews be better Jews. ;-)

(Source Photos: Andy Blumenthal)
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Trader Joe's Is Growing On Me

I took this photo in Trader Joe's.

I like how organized (and colorful) they are.

A binder for everything...dairy, produce, bread, cereal, meat, cheese, snacks, cookies and candy, frozen goods, beverages, and flowers, , 

Another binder for training...nice, they care about their employees.

And even for donations--another sign proudly stated that the store had donated $925,000 of goods so far this year...that's pretty amazing!

I previously wrote about 10 Reasons To Love Trader Joe's (and 2 to not), but this store is continuing to grow on me. 

Especially with all the healthy eating you can do from there--that's probably the most important reason of all to shop there. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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September 29, 2015

Russia Outwits Us Again x 4

You can't build the world from the backseat. 

Either we're in it or we're not. 

Instead, Russia has jumped into the driver's seat, and we're not coming out looking too good on the world stage. 

- In 2013 they took in and continue to shelter Edward Snowden, the former CIA employee who ran to Hong Kong after allegedly leaking oodles of NSA classified information.

- In 2014, Russia conducted a blitzkrieg and took Crimea from sovereign Ukraine (giving it a strategic port in the Black Sea), and are conducting a separatist war in the eastern part of the country. 

- In 2015, Russia enters the Syrian crisis and allies themselves with dictator, Bashar Al Assad (who has used chemical weapons on his own people), as well as with Iran and Iraq.

- Additionally, Russia is taking the lead role in the oil and mineral rich Arctic bolstering their presence and militarizing, including building new ice-breakers (while our Coast Guard has only one operational). 

Some people have said mockingly, "Well what should we do, start a war with Russia?"

And the answer is an unequivocal, no. 

But I assume they don't want to start a war with the U.S. either. 

Rather, this is the Cold War Part II, where we are fighting by proxy in Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and the Arctic.

If we want the world to be modeled on freedom, human rights, and democracy then we need to be able to stand up for those things that are important to us.

Yes, we have to care about what's going on here at home too, but we don't live in a bubble, although surrounded by oceans on the east and west coast, we can sometimes easily feel that way. 

It's a big world--and it takes tremendous leadership to bring it along a good and noble path.

The leadership role will not stay vacant for long...it can be us if we want it, or else you might as well flip a coin on either Russia or China. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 28, 2015

Relating To G-d Through Rules And Relationships

So we had some friends come visit last night. 

They are religious Christians (brother and sister) who love the Jewish people, and one of them actually attends our synagogue on a regular basis. 


We had a nice time talking and eating, and I also learned an interesting religious lesson.


The man told me how he understood that Judaism is very focused on rules (i.e. laws) that people are supposed to follow as laid out in the Torah.


But he said, it is also important to build a relationship with G-d.


The relationship being about sincerely knowing that G-d is there for us, that we are bound to him, that we express our gratitude for everything he does for us, and that we ask him for what we need. 


I think the main difference in how he described it was that is was not in a rote and ritualistic type of way, but rather as in a real relationship, where we talk to G-d naturally and recognize him benevolently and lovingly. 


As Jews, we know we cannot substitute a loving relationship with G-d for doing what we are commanded to do, but perhaps we can do both. 


We can follow the rules--the do's and don'ts--AND we can bind with G-d in a one on one relationship--where we are and feel bound to him not just because we must, but rather because we really love him for creating us, sustaining us, and he is the ultimate good in universe.


When we are in a "relationship" with G-d, it's because he is someone we want to cling to, relate to, talk to, and yearn for. 


This is a just little different than how I learned about this in yeshiva, where it was much more about loving and fearing G-d in a rule-based way--again because we are commanded to do it.


But perhaps it is nice also to love and fear G-d, because he is G-d and we are in a deep and growing relationship with him. ;-)


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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September 27, 2015

Beautiful Brookside Gardens













Today, we visited Brookside Gardens in Maryland.

My daughter needed to do some drawing for her art class.

We took the opportunity to enjoy the unbelievable beautiful nature there. 

If only the whole Earth was allowed to exist in such pristine form. 

No overcrowding, overdevelopment, and polluting of the planet. 

Just respect for Mother Earth and the bounty and miracles we are allowed to enjoy. ;-)

(Source Photos: Andy Blumenthal)

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Evil Cannot Be In Charge

So I am having to reconcile some interesting things in my mind. 

Hating and liking. 

For example Iran, led by dictators and extremists, is perhaps the epitome of the "Axis of Evil" and the arch enemy of America and Israel

Iran suppresses the freedom and human rights of its people, is the leading sponsor of world terrorism, denies the Holocaust, and threatens brutal attacks on America and to annihilate Israel. 

Yet, on a personal level I have had the opportunity to meet a number of Iranians that I really like and respect.

These include amazing colleagues at work, and wonderful members of my synagogue as well as neighbors. 

One Iranian family I met just this morning was simply amazing.

The father had a horrible stroke earlier in the year. 

Today, I saw the father wheeled to the swimming pool by his son. 

The son took his father lovingly into the water and worked with him therapeutically to help him on regaining as much mobility as possible. 

I stopped to speak with them, and the man's wife told me that the son, who was a PhD in mechanical engineering from Texas came every week to Washington, D.C. to work with his stricken father. 

The son told me that although he was not a therapist worked hard with his father on physical and occupational therapy, and I even saw his father laugh a little with his son in the water. 

The son held the father by a safety belt and his father put his hand on his son's shoulder as they walked forward and backwards in the water, and even did a little swim while his son held the belt tight. 

I was really impressed by this family and especially the love, caring, and devotion the son showed his father. 

Despite their troubles, the wife asked me how I was recuperating and smiled when I told her I was doing better. 

It's amazing to me how hate truly is blind. 

On one hand, what Iran stands for today led by extremists who seek religious domination, suppression and destruction of others, and a return of the Caliphate is a danger to its people and the world.

On the other hand, many of the people from the streets of Iran are surely some very good people.

We need to see the bad apples and separate them from the good ones. 

As a country, we need to support the freedom of the Iranian people and help those that believe in peace and fellowship. 

When evil is in a leadership position, then good does not follow, but rather is smothered until it is set free. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 26, 2015

When In Doubt

I like this sign that I saw in a local place of business that buys and sells goods. 

"When in doubt--PASS!"

How many times are we faced with a challenging situation, and we are not quite sure what to do.

We hem and haw and go back and forth in our minds whether we should really do it?

But like my wife and I came to with decision-making in general a while ago, "If it isn't yes, then it's no."

When that little something inside is giving you pause, doubt, and holding you back...there is usually a very good reason. 

STOP yourself right there--listen to your gut and instinct.

If you don't, you'll pay the price afterwards for making a bad call that you knew deep down was a big no-no to begin with. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy and Dossy Blumenthal)
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September 25, 2015

Kid's Games, For Survival Mostly

Some nights, I dream of fighting and others of running for my very life.  

This last night, I woke up from the dream, and thought how these instincts of fight or flight are so pervasive in our lives, and even in our sleep. 

But more than that, we are literally from the youngest age, programmed for survival (of the fittest). 

Ok, here's a simple hypothesis about kid's play:  

Kid's play is not just play, but rather the preparation through acting out of these basic human survival instincts.

At it's core, kids games mimic the fundamental human tendencies of fight or flight. 

Think for a second of some of the most popular games that kids play...the ones that mostly have been around forever, and kids from the youngest of ages gravitate too.

Tag -- Running after from someone else running after you. 

Hide and Go Seek -- Running to hide from someone looking to find you.

Play Fighting -- Fighting an opponent to see who is stronger and can overcome the other. 

Action Figures -- Often superheroes and villians that once again, fight each other.

Dress Up -- Girls often dress as the beautiful princesses to be admired by boys who are in turn dressed as (macho) heroes that seek to protect them. 

Video Games -- The most popular ones, first-person shooter (fighting) and racing (running away, faster than anyone else, and over the finish line or into the safety zone). 

Whether we are playing games, sleeping and dreaming, or going about our daily life activities, make no mistake, we are in survival mode. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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September 24, 2015

Fashion As Art

I took this photo today in Washington, D.C.--although it seemed for a moment like I was magically transported to downtown Beijing. 

What an stunning outfit this lady is wearing!

Fashionable yet modest, with brilliant colors, and contrasting patterns and solids--more like art than clothing. 

She is walking with a complete fluid grace--even while she's reading on her smartphone. 

Don't tell Dossy--Oh, she's right here! ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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Everyone's Heart Is Something


This video has gone viral since Monday. 

A 6-year old girl instructs her mom and dad on how to treat each other better after her parent's divorce. 

"I just want everyone to be friends."

"If I can be nice, I think all of you can be too."

"I want everyone to smile."

"I think you can get your mean heights to low heights."

"My heart is something. Everyone's heart is something."

"If we live in a world where everyone is mean, then everyone will be a monster. What about the future?"

"If there is a little bit of person, we will eat them, then no one will ever be here, only the monsters will be in our place,"

"I want everything to be good and possible, nothing else."

So innocent and pure are her words.

Yes, a wake-up call to all of us!

If G-d can endow us with such pristine souls, surely we can nurture these and one day return them to the Maker, certainly no worse for the wear, and maybe even some better with good deeds done. ;-)
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September 22, 2015

Requirements, I Don't Know

This was a funny cartoon. 

Who are we?  

Clients!

What do we want?

We don't know!

When do we want it?

Now!

This is like way to many IT projects...

The customer knows they need to do something, because of changing market conditions, internal (dys)functioning, arising competition, or external mandates and regulations. 

But when the IT project managers and business analysts interview and ask the customer what they want and need to address these...quite often they get blank faces and hands raised in circuitous, endless doubt. 

What do the customers really want?

For IT to define, solve, and make their problems go away--and by the way do it yesterday and without any extra / proportionate resources

For some IT "professionals" that may be a little lacking themselves, you end up getting half-assed solutions to half-baked requirements that accomplish nothing or perhaps even break things more.

Hence, the true miracle of technology--to read minds and deliver valuable solutions to problems that no one could fully define to begin with! ;-)

(Source Cartoon: Roz Blumenthal @ Facebook)
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Yom Kippur, When The Masks Come Off

This mask does not mean that Jews have horns--that is a crappy and evil stereotype, so cut it out. 

Masks are dress-up and pretend, like the way most people behave day-in and day-out. 

People imagine and feign to be what they would like to be or what they want others to believe they are. 

Like when someone is gearing up for a fight, they extend their arms, raise their voices, bob up and down to make themselves appear bigger and more formidable than they really are. 

It's a fake out--but perception is (often) reality. 

Similarly, people may wear clothes, drive cars, or live in big fancy homes that make them look well-to-do, but really it's a great act and all bought on extensive credit (ever hear of 0% down!). 

Others may dream of being seen as smart and the go-to guy for answers, the subject matter expert, or the generally wise person for advice and guidance, but are they really smarter than everyone else or do the degrees plastering the wall like wallpaper or titles like doctor, lawyer, accountant, entrepreneur, professor, and Rabbi simply often invoke credentials and an air rather than the smarts that should accompany them.

Even parents may pose for loving pictures with their children, seem to dote on them, and act the helicopter parents, but still when it comes to their own busy schedules, they have no real time or attention left for the little ones--because the parents put themselves first. 

It happens all the time, every which way, the authority figure who really abuses their authority rather than lives up to it. 

People are human, weak, fallible--and the show is often a lot better than the characters behind it. 

But that doesn't mean we stop trying to be inside what we know we really should be--more loving, caring, giving, and good people. 

This is the essence of Yom Kippur to me, the Day of Atonement--the day when we shed all our phony masks--and instead we bear out our sins, bend our heads with shame, are sorry for what we have done wrong, and commit to doing better in the future.

Yom Kippur is the day when all the masks are off--we cannot hide from G-d Almighty, the all seeing and all knowing.  

On Rosh Hashanah, the Day of Judgement we are inscribed, and on Yom Kippur the book is sealed. 

In Judgement, we may enter the court of heaven with heads still held up high, with the same act that we try to show every day, but on Yom Kippur we leave the court with our heads down and our hands humbly clasped, the sentence meted out for who we really are--based not on pretense, but on our underlying behavior.

A mask covers what is, when the mask is off we are left with who we are--naked before our maker, where all is revealed, and we must account for our actions--good, bad, or even just plain indifferent. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 21, 2015

Mindful Treatment Of The Disabled

What great brain at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) came up with the idea to curb access to prosthetics for the disabled?

What is supposedly driving CMS?

It's a half-wit effort to put a dent in fraud for lower-limb prosthetics --estimated at just $43 million relative to CMS's annual budget of close to $1 trillion!

Uh, doesn't CMS have anything better to do then pick on disabled people missing one or more legs?

The profound dumbness of the proposed CMS new rules would limit amputees from possible reimbursement for artificial limbs for example, "if they use assistive devices such as canes or crutches."

But isn't that precisely what someone who can't walk and is missing a limb would use???

Here's the next doozy...CMS would limit advanced prosthetics "if the device doesn't enable them to walk with the appearance of a natural gait."

OMG, this is too much!

People with disabilities who require help need it precisely because they are not "natural" in their mobility functions--that is what we are seeking to help them with. 

You're going to penalize someone from getting artificial limbs because they still can't walk completely normal with fake limbs like with real ones?

Moreover, if the Veteran's Administration adopts these rules, this will also affect our wounded warfighters. 

G-d (and the Secretary of HHS) needs to put some sense back in the minds of the people who, in this case, instead of helping the disabled are misguidedly working against them. ;-)

(Source Photo: Dannielle Blumenthal)

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September 20, 2015

Apple Picking At Waters Orchard






(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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Violation of Home and Person

So I took this photo of a newscast recently about women being followed into their homes and attacked. 

What can be more frightening and violating?

A home is one's castle and sanctuary--that is where we go for shelter, safety, and unconditional love. 

When the the home space is violated, then fear and panic ensue as all bets are off to what can happen to everything one loves and holds dear.

Think of basically any scene where the ancient city walls are being broached by a marauding army, and you'll immediately see men, women, and children running and screaming, but alas the city burns and the people are doomed at the hand of their invaders. 

Similarly, when people are followed or suffer a home invasion--their privacy and security is violated to the core--and they easily become victims of theft, rape, and assault. 

I remember when growing up in New York how one local neighborhood kid was followed home one day by a gang, and they started beating him in front of his home until some neighbors came and chased the attackers away. 

But it didn't end there, because this kid was vulnerable for months afterward, not knowing if and when the attackers would return for more. 

It's like when people threaten someone and say, "I know where you live!"

That puts the fear of G-d into people, because it's not only themselves, but their home and family at mortal risk--and not knowing when or how it may happen...people can just piss their pants. 

The opposite is true as well, people tend to be big shots and aggressive when they feel they are anonymous--when their faces are covered by masks, and they have no identifiable insignias--you don't know who they are or where they are from. 

With anonymity, people feel they can do what they want without fear of reprisal. 

But someone who can be identified, they better behave themselves, because they can be found afterwards and "made to pay" for the bad things they did. 

Ultimately, peace comes from having both safety in the home and the serenity of mind that comes with not having to look over your shoulder all the time. 

Everyone should be able to feel safe in their homes and neighborhood, and the attacker be caught, killed, or damned. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 19, 2015

The Many Faces Of Coffee


Coffee wakes us the "f--- up". 


There is enough time to sleep when we are dead. 


Coffee isn't just a nice to have.


It's always coffee time.



Coffee beans give us the sharp flavor and the quick pick me up.


Coffee is not only for working, but for relaxing.

I'll take mine iced with half & half and plenty of sweetener. 

(Source Photos: Andy Blumenthal)

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September 18, 2015

Lights, Camera, Inaction

So the lights dim, the camera starts to roll, and what happens...

ACTION!


The show starts...actors spring into action, and the plot takes shape--we have a positive influence and impact on our fellow man and the world we live in. 


But there is a sorry alternative storyline.


Where after the lights and camera...nothing happens.


There is a eery silence and a weird INACTION!


Like the actors are asleep at the wheel, went off to play golf or to comedy night, or perhaps went home to momma, and are cowering, and hiding under their beds.


Is this the unfortunate state of our country today?


The world is our stage. 


As the sole superpower, the United States is the prime actor today.


We have our calling to go do good--to help, to save, and to bring peace and freedom. 


But lo and behold, what happens when we have a policy of inaction?


Where we want peace, but are not willing to do to much of anything for it or perhaps in spite of it. 


So how is our world faring today:


- In Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Afghanistan, Libya, Sudan, and more, millions are dying and injured, while tens of millions are fleeing, displaced, or are in refugee camps, and chemical WMD are in use by Syria and ISIS, while our red lines were drawn and then withdrawn, and we don't know if we are training the opposition or throwing in the towel on the ground.


- ISIS, Al Qaeda, Hezbollah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Boko Haram, etc. are rampant and overrunning the Middle East and North Africa, killing, torturing, raping, destroying, and plummeting, as well as recruiting back in Europe and here in the States, amidst calls for attacks against us and our allies. 


- Russia takes Crimea and is resurgent in Eastern Ukraine and the Arctic, and antagonizing all around Europe with ever encroaching warplanes and warships, and militarizing and modernizing their formidable nuclear arsenal, and we stand up a new NATO rapid reaction force, while we are again surprised by Russia, now in Syria.


- China is expanding into the South China Sea, flexing it's economic and military muscle, and cyber attacking and stealing our vital government and economic information assets with relative impunity, while we trade with our partner and pivot this way and that. 


- North Korea restarts it's nuclear plant, readies for another banned missile launch, sinks South Korean ships, plants deadly landmines on the South's side of the demilitarized zone, and provokes toward a military confrontation, while we lick our wounds from the last broken agreements with them. 


- Iran has stymied the people's freedom movement, executed the opposition and homosexuals, builds toward a deadly nuclear and ballistic missile future, seeks the destruction of America ("The Great Satan") and Israel, is massively funding and arming their terrorist proxies to the tune of billions of dollars, and has gotten a get out of jail free card and sanctions lifting.


So what can we do?


Well in the past, we were a meaningful deterrent to countries and people doing bad things. 


We stood proudly and tall for human rights, freedom, equality, democracy, anti-proliferation, and sustainability.


We didn't have to fight everywhere to make our point--but just knowing that we were willing to stand for righteousness and justice often meant those with evil intentions stepping back and rethinking it.


Occasionally, we did have to put our blood and treasure where our mouths were, and perhaps we often did this too rashly and imprudently (when diplomacy or some saber rattling might have done the trick). 


However, the world cannot afford for us to be war weary or chase empty legacies of peace built on blind hope or a running away from our responsibilities. 


While the world burns, we can't be looking for Nobel Prizes instead of seeking out the fire extinguishers and medical kits to save and to heal. 


As it is so wisely stated: "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."


Peace is not born of inaction, but of brave actors willing to do what is necessary to achieve all that is good and all that can be done. ;-)


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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September 17, 2015

Keys to The Kingdom

Ah, so good to be given the keys to the kingdom. 

Even if only for a day. 

What to do:

- 1st key - Heal the sick, feed the hungry, raise the downtrodden.

- 2nd key - World peace, for sure. 

- 3rd key - Revitalize our ailing planet and make it sustainable.

- 4th key - Unleash innovation and give everyone a decent living wage to care for themselves and their families. 

- 5th key (the Capstone) - Bring the Messiah and everyone behaves righteously and worships the one true G-d of all.

Uh, and I need one more key to balance the budget and pay off the National Debt. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 16, 2015

Mano A Mano

So this is what it comes down to.

Man against man.

A fight to unseat and prevail against one's ultimate opponent. 

Each one bravely charging forward into the fight. 

Armed and dangerous. 

Both shielded, but not fully protected. 

One will be going down hard and maybe not coming up again. 

Good versus evil. 

Repeated over time as the war of attrition plays out. 

The heavenly battle taking place among mere mortal agents. 

Until eventually the righteous triumph over the selfish, lusting, and greedy villains.  

In didn't start in Medieval times and it won't end until it's over and won, and it will be won for G-d's sake. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 15, 2015

Acrobatic Fun





This was a cool show we saw at the Maryland Renaissance Festival this past weekend. 

The show combined some nice acrobatic tricks with a good sense of humor. 

The torture and killing was nasty in the medieval ages, but at least they took the edge off with some daring and showmanship in the joust and on stage. ;-)

(Source Photos: Andy Blumenthal)

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September 14, 2015

The Unbelievable Stupidity Of Raising Interest Rates

Interest rates have been near zero since the recession of 2008.

That supposedly to stimulate the economy. 

However, aside from a stock market bubble again, not sure we have a much stimulated economy.

We have a false low on the unemployment rate, while the the true percentage of the labor force working is the lowest in almost 40 years!

Moreover, manufacturing is down almost 40% from the 1979 peak with a loss of over 7.2M jobs

Commodities are at firesale prices as demand is sluggish and there is short-term oversupply. 

And innovation is facing a global slowdown

So people are out of work, we're not making things, demand is depressing prices, and even ideas are few and far between--not too rosy a picture, regardless of what some politicians may have you believe. 

Let's not forget that we have an over $18 trillion federal debt, and this is projected to grow ever greater as we borrow to fund social entitlements such as social security, medicare, etc. 

In this scenario, why would the Federal Reserve ever want to raise interest rates?

Well, if they don't raise rates, then they can't lower them later again when the economy really stalls out and goes into deep recession. 

Hence, this is seen as a tool for their financial toolkit--and if there are no tools with which to manipulate the economy, then there is no need for a (neutered) Federal Reserve. 

But think for a second what happens when the Fed raises rates, it's going to slow the economy even further than the chug chug chug economy that we are already dealing with. 

Maybe even more important, it will raise the amount of interest payments we must folk over on the trillions of dollars of debt we owe.  

Simply put, when we raise interest rates, we pay more interest on our already astronomically high national debt, and this pushes our national deficit up even higher as we borrow more to pay the interest on the previous debt. 

If you did this with your credit cards, you'd probably be looking at the equivalent of debtor's prison sooner or later. 

Rather than feed the Fed's toolbox with interest rate bumps and drops, why not keep rates low as long as they can stay low, reducing our interest payments, and curtailing our national deficit and debt. 

What about the stock bubble...that's a lesson investors will be learning about in their own good time--it's the stock market, stupid. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 13, 2015

The Hottest New Jewish Site


Just in time for the New Year you can shop at Jewish fashion site Hot Chani

"Sexy things for heimish girls."


Hot Chanis are modest and proper Jewish women who are still unbelievably sexy. 


You can truly be a "good Jewish girl" and feel and be gorgeous inside and out. 


Find your confidence, feel sexy, be beautiful, find love and romance...shop at Hot Chani.


Spice up your New Year and your life.


Be a Hot Chani! ;-)


(Source Photo: HotChani.com)

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September 12, 2015

Apple Desperately Needs Some New Fruit

I love my Apple iPhone, but this core product debuted in January 2007.

We're going on almost 9 years!!!

Don't get me wrong, the iPhone is enormously successful:

- It accounts for 92% of the smartphone industry's profits (even though it only sells 20% of the smartphones). 

- The iPhone bring in almost 2/3 of Apple's total revenue now going on almost $200 billion. 

But, the new growth that Apple seeks in not based on any real exciting innovation.

Take for example Apple's announcements this week:

- A new larger 12.9 inch iPad with a stylus (the Apple Pencil).

- A revamped Apple TV set-top box. 

- Apple's iPhone 3-D Touch that controls the smartphone based on how hard you press. 

Uh, ho-hum--this is all V-E-R-Y boring!

Google has a similar problem with their core business of advertising on Search and YouTube accounting for 89% of their revenue.

But at least Google continues working towards their next moonshot, and has reorganized their innovation labs into a separate entity called Alphabet--working on everything from:

- Self-driving cars

- Delivery drones

- Internet balloons

- Smart thermostats (Nest)

- Broadband services (Google Fiber)

- Longevity research (Calico)

- Smart contact lenses

- Robotics

Unfortunately for Apple, the death of Steve Jobs in 2011 has meant the loss of their driving force for innovation. 

Despite a workforce of about 100,000 and a gorgeous new flying saucer-looking headquarters, can you think of any major new products since Jobs?

Apple is a fruit in it's prime--ripe and shiny and hugely smart and successful, but without any new fruits going forward, they are at risk of becoming a stale mealy apple, versus a bountiful and delicious fruit salad. 

Apple is very secretive, so maybe the fruit is coming. 

I hope for our sake and theirs that Apple is seriously planting for the future and not just harvesting on the past. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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