Showing posts with label Legacy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Legacy. Show all posts

January 7, 2017

G-d Bless Senator Ted Cruz



@SenTedCruz Thank you for the beautiful speech supporting our friend and ally, Israel, and condemning the anti-Israel hate and anti-Semitism from the biased United Nations and the Obama administration. 
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January 6, 2017

G-d Bless House Speaker Ryan



I just wanted to thank (and bless) House Speaker Ryan for calling out the Israel-hate and anti-Semitism of the Obama administration.


"I am still stunned by what happened last month. This government—our government—abandoned our ally Israel when she needed us the most...We were there for her when rockets rained down on Tel Aviv. We were there for her by passing historic legislation to combat the boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement. And we’ve been there for her by ensuring Israel has the tools to defend herself against those who seek her destruction. And in every one of those instances, Republicans and Democrats have worked together to get these things done. That’s because our historic alliance with Israel transcends party labels and partisan bickering...It’s time to repair the damage done by this misguided hit job at the UN. It's time to rebuild our partnership with Israel and reaffirm our commitment to her security. And it's time to show all of our allies that, regardless of the shameful events of last month, the United States remains a force for good."

The House of Representatives voted overwhelming (342-80) to condemn the crooked, lopsided UN resolution against our friend and ally, Israel--in which the Obama administration shamefully let pass. And the Senate is anticipated to also condemn it. 

As Speaker Ryan and the many good, decent member of Congress who support Israel reiterated yesterday, "the United States [is and must] remain a force for good."

This is a historic battle and we can shape world events, as guided by G-d, and help good to defeat evil. ;-)

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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 17, 2016

Getting Past The Political Blame Game

Really liked this Japanese bowl and cup set--so cute. 

The head is the bowl, and the cup which holds all the water and has the handle is the body. 


The head is much bigger than the body, like people's egos are bigger than their sense of responsibility. 

Today, I read again about some leaders blaming others for the world problems:

"Obama said Trump's election and the U.K.'s vote to leave the EU were spawned by world leaders' mishandling of globalization."

Note, he blames these unspecified "world leaders," with no attribution or responsibility to himself

To be clear, he is resolute that his policies and way of governing had no impact on the rise of President-elect Trump, his diametric opposite!

This is similar to Hillary Clinton blaming her election loss on the FBI Director investigating her, and not taking responsibility for her own lengthy history of scandals.

Again on Sunday, the New York Times blamed the gender-based, glass ceiling on Hillary's defeat, rather than acknowledging the impact of the "corruption ceiling" that may have prevented her winning. 

And there is a long pattern of this blaming in politics whether for gridlock, the deficit, healthcare, divisiveness, violence in inner cities, terrorism, improprieties, distrust of government, and more. 

In the extreme, some leaders even blamed the U.S. people themselves for the suffering caused by radical Islamic terrorism!

Even in the recent election, some blamed their own constituents for insulting and ruining their legacy if they don't go out and vote for his DNC hand-picked successor. 

Yet despite the endless blame game, Obama attacked Trump for whining and blaming rigged elections, saying that this demonstrated a lack of leadership or toughness to be president. 

But at the same time, he takes credit for everything good that happens: for ending Iraq war, for killing Bin Laden, for saving the world economy, for reforming our schools, for "stamping out" Ebola, for $2 gas, and even for the success of Fox news!

How wonderful (NOT) is this philosophy and practice of leadership:

If something good happens, you take the credit; If something bad happens, you blame someone else. 

That's a very big head on top of that very narrow body. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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June 17, 2016

Getting To Truth

So I saw this quote on someone's t-shirt.

Immediately, I thought this is pretty smart and took a mental photo. 


World
- Lies
Truth

I suppose the question is how much of the world we live in are lies and fallacies to deceive individuals or the masses. 

Lies made up by liars, driven by materialism and greed, by people seeking or taking power, lies to enslave others in thought and deed, lies to get people to do what we want them to or to get them to follow us blindly, lies to get our way or to get others to abandon theirs, lies to cheat, lies to steal, lies to corrupt, lies to control, lies to obscure or cover our tracks, lies to rewrite history, lies to create phony legacies, lies for the sake of lying. 

All the rest is the truth. ;-)

(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)
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November 23, 2015

Silence In the Face of Ongoing Terror And Murder

In the recent wave of terror attacks in Israel, in less than 3 months (Oct 1- Nov 23), there have been:

- 21 Murdered 

- 184 Wounded (20 critically)

Through:

- 74 Stabbings

- 10 Shootings

- 11 Car Rammings

The murdered include Ezra Schwartz, an 18-year old American citizen from Massachusetts. 

Despite the terrorism and the death of an American citizen along with so many other innocent Jews, the superpower country of the world is silent--not calling it reprehensible or deplorable or condemning it or demanding the terrorism stop immediately. 

- Silence, despite about the murder of Jews and even its own U.S. citizen in Israel on November 19.

- Silence, yet signing nuke deals with "Axis Of Evil" Iran--the #1 state sponsor of terrorism (undiminished in 2015) and top abuser of human rights.

- Silence in the face of terror attacks against Jews elsewhere abroad, like the Jewish teacher stabbed and killed in Paris last week by three assailants shouting anti-Semitic insults? 

- Silence through a "no-show" at the Solidarity Rally in Paris with 40 other heads of state in January to denounce the terror attack on Charlie Hebdo and on the Jewish grocery store that killed 17 innocent people. 

Could this perhaps be payback time to one of it's closest friends and allies for: 

- Continuing settlements for an expanding Israeli population who are surrounded by hostile neighbors that want to throw them into the Mediterranean Sea. 

- For a peace deal with the Palestinians that didn't materialize without a peace parter that would recognize the Jews States' right to even exist.

- For Netanyahu's objection to the Iranian nuke deal that put's Israel in the crosshairs of a sprouting nuclear regime that threatens annihilation against it. 

Regardless of why, it is abundantly clear that the killing of Jews in Israel and abroad is tacitly being given the green light to continue--and so it's an open field day for terror and murder of Jews!

Even the generally harsh critic of Israel, Amnesty International, has come out calling the terror against Israel "reprehensible and unjustified" and "a clear contempt for human life."

The appalling indifference to the murder of Jews by top administration officials, just 70-years after the Holocaust, is being heard loud and clear around the world.   

- It is a sanctioning of terrorism and murder, period. 

- It is reprehensible, period. 

- It is cementing a legacy of blind hatred and blatant discrimination and anti-Semitism that will go down in history, period. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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May 31, 2015

Light Up The Night

This was a beautiful piece in the New York Times today.

It was about how two sons handled the final hours with their father after he was removed from off life support.

With the prodding of one son, the father reluctantly agrees to see a Rabbi before his death, and this Rabbi describes to the dying man the meaning of his (and our) life:

"Imagine your whole life now, and for each [and every] time you did something good, imagine it as a little glow you left behind that lights a dark road stretching back in time. It's a long, long row of lights now, isn't it?"

Remembering over time, the father nods, smiles and is obviously comforted in this final hour as he sees in his mind's eye all the shinning lights for the acts of kindness that he was leaving behind. 

Isn't this what life is all about?

Every choice we make, everything we do, can have an amazing impact and leave light when before there was just darkness. 

Imitating G-d in creation, we create light separating it from the darkness out there, good from evil...we create the future. 

Our goal...light up the night. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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March 13, 2015

Obstruction Or Progress At Last

We all hate people who are obstructionist to what we consider progress.

The problem is not everyone defines progress the same way.

Progress to one may be hugely regressive to someone else.

So when 47 senators sent a cautionary letter to Iran's leadership this week about making a deal on nukes, which perhaps comes down to less now for more later...

- Some called it obstructionist to the negotiations and even a potential violation of the Logan Act.

- While others saw it as progress in bringing us back from the brink of a dangerous and (very) bad deal involving legitimizing weapons of mass destruction for a dangerous regime to all.

Two partisan sides to every story...and each side capitalizes on theirs.  

"That's my story, and I'm sticking to it!"

But history inevitably tells the true story (or closer to it) based on the outcomes of action or inaction (aka acts of commission and omission).

With the tornado of spin from the pundits on news, news, and more news, someone reminded me of the adage:

"Liar, liar pants on fire" 

or 

"Don't believe everything you hear, and only half of what you see." ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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March 5, 2015

What's Behind The Iran Deal?

The U.S. is driving forward toward a looming deadline for a deal with Iran, so they don't go nuclear (on us).

But with this deal, Iran does go nuclear!

The question then is who is this non-deal of a deal for?

Usually one makes a deal that is good for you, your team, your allies, your friends, your community--that's why you're making the deal...otherwise why bother?

In this case, no one has more to lose with a (very) bad deal than Iran's neighbors in the Middle East, so they are actually very good judges as to whether this is a good deal or not, right?

If it's a good deal that safeguards them, the region, and us--wouldn't they all be jumping up and down doing the Horah?

But they're not--and far from it!

PM Netanyahu was extremely clear and got 23 standing ovations in just a 40 minute speech explaining how kicking the thermonuclear can down the road ten years does not a non-proliferation agreement make with a homicidal terrorist regime like Iran. 

Similar, today again it is reported that "America's other key allies across the Middle East--such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates--are just as distraught."

And the same reason that they don't like this deal is why we shouldn't like this deal--because it doesn't accomplish the goal of safety and security for this region of the world or for us from dangerous Iran. 

In this case, where a no-nuke Iran was what was committed to, instead we are getting, at best, a temporary deal with Iran that leaves them their nuke infrastructure and capabilities, as well as the legitimacy to ultimately have their nukes and make us eat it too!

So perhaps it is understandable why Netanyahu came here to speak to the U.S. Congress about what this dangerous deal is turning into and means to the very country that has been threatened by Iran with extermination. 

And why a prominent Emirati political commentator said, "A lot of the Gulf countries [our traditional U.S. allies] feel they are being thrown under the bus."

Hmm, perhaps rather than playing right side/left side of the aisle politics, we should be asking some common sense questions:

1) Why would anyone and why would we in particular want a deal that doesn't accomplish the goal of stopping the terrorist Iranian regime from getting nuclear weapons of mass destruction?

2) Why would we desperately seek a deal that doesn't safeguard us, and our allies, and where the common refrain is that no deal is better than this deal?

3) Why would we be pushing to lift sanctions on Iran that has threatened us and our allies with everything from raping the President's daughter to sinking the U.S. Navy to annihilating Israel instead of clamping down on these terrorists?

You know the famous saying that when something smells fishy, it usually is.  

This deal makes no sense--and our allies in the Middle East know it, Congress knows it, and if you don't let partisan politics get in the way, we all know it. 

That means that as Iran is now aggressively spreading it's influence and forces across a contingent land sphere including Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon, there is some ulterior motive at play here--should I draw you a map? ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 26, 2015

Discuss and Work Together, Respectfully

Everyone and their brother seems to be jumping on board to hit on Netanyahu, the Prime Minister of our "Major Strategic Ally" and friend, Israel. 

This after Netanyahu accepted an invitation from the United States Congress to speak about Iranian nukes threatening the State of Israel, the region, and the Western world. 


1) Iran, Israel and Arab Allies:


Truly, can anyone blame Israel and our Arab allies of being distressed that we are disavowing our 2011 commitment to them, as President Obama stated:


"You also see our commitment to our shared security in our...there be no doubt: America is determined to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon...My policy is prevention of Iran obtaining nuclear weapons."


Now we have as reported gone from preventing Iran on obtaining nuclear weapons to instead a possible agreement that still leaves thousands of Iran's nuclear centerfuges spinning and "sunsets" as early as 2025!


This is a lopsided turning of the tables on Israel and of our Arab allies for reapproachment with Axis of Evil, Iran


2) Russia and Ukraine:


But not alone are our Middle East allies in feeling abandoned by us, as we made security guarantees also to Ukraine in the Budapest Memorandum of 1994 that specifically committed the U.S., U.K. and Russia to:


"Respect the independence and sovereignty and existing border of Ukraine [and to] refrain from the threat or use of force."


Well so much for that as Crimea has now been annexed by Russia and battling rages across eastern Ukraine by Russian-supported separatists, despite a blantant violation of a truce recently brokered by France and Germany.


3) Poland and Czech Republic


Yet once again, with Poland and the Czech republic (members of NATA), we commited ourselves to building a missle shield only then to back away and seemingly abandon them


"In one of the biggest national security reversals of his young presidency, Mr. Obama cancelled...plans to station a radar facility [and]...ground-based interceptors."


Questions:


Why are we continually turning on longtime friends and allies and embracing enemies sworn to our destruction?


What do our commitments mean to anyone anymore and why shouldn't our shunted allies speak out, especially when it is their countries that are being placed in jeopardy?


Disrespect and Freedom of Speech:


What is also amazing is how low we have gone in our interactions such that we no longer discuss and disagree respectfully, but instead resort now to withholding security information, disgraceful name-calling (e.g. "Chickenshit"), discrediting, and even seeking to silence opposing views!


What has happened to our dearly held and constitutional rights and values for democracy, free speech, including openly debating issues and respecting differences of opinion?


Institutional Anti-Semitism:


Interesting also is how big and tough we are being on little Israel (population 8 million and about the size of the 5th smallest U.S. state of New Jersey)...


While simultaneously many seem to be proverbially (excuse the language) peeing their pants in front of the newly aggressive "Big Bear," Russia


What is more important when it comes to the dangers of a Iran with nuclear WMD--a longtime friend and ally Israel that is facing a potentially existential threat just 70 years after the Holocaust or getting an historical "award" for making an agreement (and a potentially bad one at that) with Iran?


Conclusion:


Behavior unbecoming, includes serially breaking commitments, silencing the opposition (uh, against our Constituion), name-calling and bullying, and endangering longtime allies and friends--this is not leadership and does not leave anyone a desired legacy. 


Let's openly and freely discuss and work together respectfully in true friendship and partnership, and get a good deal that safeguards the democracies of the United States and Israel. ;-)


(All Opinions my own.)


(Source Photo: here with attribution to blueforce4116)

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January 28, 2015

Noticeably Absent From Auschwitz Liberation Memorial

So yesterday was the 70th anniversary memorial of the liberation of the Auschwitz Death Camp,

More than 1.1 million Jews and 100,000 other POWs and ethnic minorities were EXTERMINATED there.

There was forced labor, beatings, torture, starvation, the gas chambers and crematoria, the electrified barbed wire and attacks dogs, the human experimentation, and every cruelty known to mankind. 

At yesterdays memorial at Auschwitz 50 countries sent delegations "with heads of state leading those from:" 

- Germany
- Austria
- Belgium
- Bulgaria
- Croatia
- Lithuania
- France
- Netherlands
- Poland 
- Switzerland
- Ukraine (even though they are currently fighting a war with Russia!)

And even Russian President Putin "marks day at the Jewish Museum in Moscow."

It is quite mysterious, why like with the recent Unity Rally in France after the terror attacks there on Charlie Hebdo Magazine and a Jewish grocery store that left 17 dead, that the head of state for the United States was once again noticeably absent.

This time, a meeting in Saudi Arabia took precendence--why of course.

At least, the million plus murdered at Auschwitz got a (prepared) statement to mark their tragic deaths.

What does all this say about our commitment to human rights and fighting blind hatred, discrimination, racism, Islamist terorrism, and outright genocide?  

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Ricardo Francesconi)
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January 13, 2015

Absence, A Big Statement

We all know from psychology 101 that what we pay attention to and give to is what is really important to us. 

Parenting is an example of this where we give our time and efforts to our children as our most important investment of self. 

This last week was the historical Paris Unity Rally attended by millions, including 40 world leaders, to denounce blind discrimination and hate and the associated terror and murder that marked the terrorist attacks in Paris.

The Paris attacks were a striking blow on free speech and resulted in the murder of many innocent citizens and law enforcement at Charlie Hebdo magazine and numerous Jews in a kosher grocery store--it was more than shocking to see our top leadership missing in action (MIA).

In the Wall Street Journal today, there are many words on this from "error" to "lost opportunity."

Yet, despite acknowledging the blatant absence, what we are left with are an unfortunate series of excuses, such as the incredible statement that "No one in the White House brought such a request to the the President's attention."

As if someone needs to tell the leader of the free world that he needs to be participate in the Paris Unity Rally. Did the millions who attended or the other 40 world leaders need a reminder or a nudge?

Or here's another one about not being able to attend because of "security concerns."

Once again, did the heads of state for France, Germany, England, and Israel not have similar concerns that their protectors were able to adequately address. 

What about the  apology that he "regrets his decision not to send a top White House official"--uh, what about going himself?

I remember immediately after the attack of 9/11, President George W. Bush, with bullhorn in hand, standing on the rubble of what was once the World Trade Center...there was no excuses as to a need for reminders from staffers, security or health concerns, or sending surrogates--the leader was there and doing his job to lead, period.  

How can we fight a war on terrorism, fanaticism, and blind hatred, when we won't give it our time and attention--from the top down. 

As with a parent who is absent with his children, it speaks a thousand words about what is really important to that parent and the impact on the (symbolic) child.

"A cat's in the cradle with a silver spoon little boy blue and the man in the moon when your coming home dad I don't know when, but we'll get together then dad, you know we'll have a good time then."

In the past, the administration has been incredibly supportive in fighting terror, anti-semitism, and standing up for human rights, and with genuine commitment of time and effort, can do so again. 

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Doug)

(All opinions my own).

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September 1, 2013

Do You Really Want As-Is?

Classic enterprise architecture is figuring out how to move from the current/as-is state to the target/to-be state. 

Generally, anything "as-is" is viewed as legacy, old hat, probably not in the best condition anymore--and it's going without any implied warranties or guarantees as to it's condition.

Hence, at the local IKEA store, when I saw the "as-is" section for 50% off, I was like hey that's right, the "as-is" is good if we want a bargain, but there is usually something wrong with it, and that's why "all sales are final". 

If we want "the good stuff," you don't generally go to the "as-is," but you want to buy stuff for the "to-be," the target state, that you want your place to look like or what you really want to have--and guess what--that is full price!

You can architect your enterprise, yourself, or society for the momentary as-is--but is doesn't last long, because it's outdated, shabby, worn, and maybe even missing some critical parts already. 

That's why you want to architect for the future--for the to-be--with all the working parts, new and shinny, and geared to tackle the market conditions with innovation, functional strength and a design that is ready to turn heads. 

You can save money staying with the as-is, but you'll be getting what you paid for and will be falling behind for another cycle--if you survive. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 5, 2012

Goodbye Mr. Yaffe

Last night, my dear friend lost his father--Mr. John Sommer.

He was known to many as just Mr. Yaffe--a twist on an electrical business, Yaffe Electric, that he owned for many years. 

John Sommer was a good man--he was a holocaust survivor who came to America, married his dear wife Yona, had two boys--Danny and Harry--and worked hard in his business for his family and his community. 

Yona, was a saintly woman, who died about 11 years ago from cancer and John carried on into his upper 80's with many an illness--finally succumbing on Friday night into a coma, and last night, he passed.

John and Yona were wonderful to me--as I was friends with their sons--and their home was like a 2nd home for me. 

I always felt like I had a place at their table and they made me feel like one of the family.

I remember saying the table prayers before and after meals there, talking about religion and politics, playing board and video games, watching movies, doing homework, and more. 

On the Jewish holidays, the Sommers invited my family to join them, and they joined us on the Sabbath at times, and on Thanksgiving, we meet at the restaurant together. 

The Sommers sat just two rows behind us in Synagogue, but that didn't stop some friendly banter between us all--G-d forgive us. 

Regularly after synagogue on weekdays, John Sommer would say let me give you a lift home--he was always willing to help others.

For the community, he frequently gave his electrician services to the synagogue for free and sponsored the kiddish (meal) after the services. 

The Sommers were at my Bar Mitzvah and my wedding, and I always remember their friendship and generosity. 

Losing good people is very painful--there are not enough of them in this world.

I pray that John is now with his wife, Yona, in heaven--and that they are at peace and that their legacy of good deeds continues long after. 

Good people should not suffer, but these people did as so many do--it is not easy to live or to die, but I have fond memories of what they gave to me and I am grateful to them. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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May 22, 2012

L'Chaim--Live It Well!

I found an article on the consolation of death "buried" in my papers from a couple of months ago--and I'm glad I did. 

The Wall Street Journal (10 April 2012) has a very interesting book review of "Death" by Shelly Kagan.

The book is about how do we live knowing that some day we will die--how do we console ourselves?

Here are a combination of the the ideas reviewed and my thoughts on them:

- The Hard Stop--Since life and death, for each of us, cannot coexist, we are either alive or dead--"no one will ever encounter their own death"--so there is nothing to worry about.  

- Not Me--We live life never really believing that we will die--instead, "death is something that happens to other people."

- Live Without Attachments--As Buddhism teaches that we should cast off attachments, self-concern, and suffering--hence, the loss of own self is a "nonevent."

- Live The Moment
-- We should live in the present and enjoy life, rather than mourn the past or worry about the future.


- Live a Full Life--Live a full and meaningful life, and then perhaps, we "don't cry because it's over, [but rather] smile because it happened."

- Leave a Legacy--If we leave a legacy of our children and good deeds, then we live on even once we are physically gone. 

I was always taught that since no one ever really came back from the other side to tell us what happens to us when we die, we should not be overly focused on it.

I remember overhearing some old men in synagogue debating what happens to us when we die--one taking the position that we go heaven and the other stating that death was the end (he put it more crudely though-something about us being dead no different than a dead dog!)

In the end, since it doesn't pay to worry about what we don't know and perhaps can't even really fathom, I think all we can do is our best every moment that we are alive--and leave the rest to sort out to G-d, afterward.

The consolation then is if you tried your best, what more can anyone ask of themselves or others?

In terms of the picture, the L'Chaim candy bar is a little reminder not to take everything in life so seriously either--live life and live it well. ;-)

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Uberculture, Jeremy Noble)

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July 25, 2009

Finding the Meaning In It All

What a great, great article in the Wall Street Journal—Tuesday, July 14, 2009—“A New View, After Diagnosis” about how “cancer patients find meaning in the face of mortality…how can you live knowing that you’re going to die?”

To me, the article was inspiring, hopeful, and courageous.

A new therapy called meaning-centered psychotherapy addresses the question that cancer patients have: “How do I live in the space between my diagnosis and my eventual death.” And it answers the call with the philosophy of the Austrian psychiatrist and holocaust survivor, Victor Frankl, who taught, “people can endure any suffering if they know their life has meaning.

Meaning-centered psychotherapy works with cancer patients to make “the months or years of life that remain times of extraordinary growth” of “reconnecting with the many sources of meaning in life—love, work, history, family relationships,” and of resolving issues of our past.

Through spiritual well being, we can reduce our anxiety and fear of death and find meaning in life and the legacy we can leave behind.

No, this article wasn’t about work or technology or leadership per se and yet it was about all of them so much more.

How often do we go through our daily lives and question the meaning of it all? (What’s life really all about? What’s it all for? Why do we work so hard? Who really cares? What affect does it have in the end, anyway?)

In fact, all our lives we are searching for and desperately seeking spiritual meaning in what we do.

We are multi-faceted people. We have professional lives, families, friends, community, hobbies, and so forth. And we try to imbue spirituality in what we do every day—to elevate the mundane into the holy—to make the meetings, reports, bills, dirty diapers, dishes, and laundry, meaningful.

Recently, one of my friends who is looking for a new job (in this tough economy) said to me, “I want to find a meaningful job.” And I asked him “what is meaningful to you?” He answered “I’m not sure, but I’ll know it when I see it.”

It seems that we all cognizant of the short time we have here on earth and we want to make the most of it. Yet, despite all the people, activity, and things (“technology toys” or otherwise), we still are not sure what exactly “meaningful” means.

Is the answer really simple and straightforward--is it our good deeds, loving our neighbors as ourselves, and serving our maker? Well yes, of course, but we also have an inherent need to see that there is some positive end-result to our life’s work—a legacy that transcends us. Whether it is through our children and grandchildren that carry onward after us, charitable gifts or trusts that helps feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, or treat the ill, or having a positive influence on the people and society around us—inspiring, motivating, leading, and creating a better world.

Certainly, with a cancer patient, at the crossroads of the life and death, meaning must be found now or lost for all time. Others, not facing imminent death, have more time to explore, experiment, and search for the meaning in their lives. In the end, all of us desire to leave this world with a clear conscience knowing that we did our best, and left the world and the people in it that we touched, better off than had we not lived at all.


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April 6, 2008

Total Recall and Enterprise Architecture

Enterprise architecture plays an important role in corporate knowledge management. EA captures, analyzes, catalogues, and serves up information to end-users. In many cases, where more general KM endeavors fail, User-centric EA succeeds because it is a focused effort, with a clear value proposition for making information useful and usable.

Now, KM is being taken to whole new level. And rather than capturing information with clearly defined users and uses, the aim is total recall.

ComputerWorld, 6 April 2008, reports on an initiative for “storing every life memory in a surrogate [computer] brain.”

“Gordon Bello, a longtime veteran of the IT industry and now principle researcher at Microsoft’s Corp.’s research arm, is developing a way for everyone to remember those special moments. Actually, Bell himself wants to remember—well, everything...he wants the ability to pull up any picture, phone call, e-mail, or conversation any time he wants”

“The nine-year project, called MyLifeBits, has Bell supplementing his own memory by collecting as much information as he can about his life. He’s trying to store a lifetime on his laptop.”

“The effort is about not forgetting, not deleting, and holding onto all the bit of your life. In essence, it’s about immortality.”

What about privacy of your personal information?

It “isn’t about plastering a Myspace or Facebook page with information…[It’s] immensely personal...you will leave a personal legacy—a record of your life [on a personal computer].

And Bell is not discerning, he stores painful memories as he does happy ones; this “would actually let people see who he was as a person.”

Certainly people have strived for eternal life from the time of the first man and woman—Adam and Eve eating of the forbidden apple in their quest for immortality—and since with the search for the “fountain of youth” and other elixirs to prolong life. Similarly, people have sought to live eternal by leaving a legacy—whether great men or nefarious one—from rulers and inventors to conquerors and hate mongers. The desire to influence and be remembered everlasting is as potent as the most parch thirst of man.

Bell has gone to extremes collecting and storing his memories—good and bad—from “every webpage he has ever visited and television shows he has watched…video’s of lectures he’d given, CDs, correspondence and an avalanche of photos…he has also recorded phone conversations, images and audio from conference sessions, and with his e-mail and instant messages.”

In fact, Bell wears a SenseCam around his neck, a digital camera that automatically takes a photo every 30 seconds or whenever someone approaches.

“Bell figures that he could store everything about his life, from start to finish, using a terabyte of storage.”

“In 20 years, digitizing our memories will be standard procedure according to Bell. ‘Its my supplemental memory and brain’. It’s one of my most valuable possessions. It look at this thing and think, ‘My whole life is there.’”

So is that what a human life comes down to—a terabyte of stored information?

While maybe a noble effort at capturing memory, this seems to miss the mark at what a human being is really about. A person is much more than that which can be captured by a photo or sound bite of the external circumstances and events that take place around us. The essence of a person is about the deep challenges that go on inside us. The daily struggles and choices we make through our inner conscience—to chose right from wrong and to sacrifice for our creator, our loved ones, our nation, and our beliefs. Yes, you can see the resulting actions, but you don’t see the internal struggles of heart, mind, and soul.

Also, while capturing every 30 seconds of a person’s life may be sacred to the person whose life is being stored, who else really cares? The high-lights of a person’s life are a lesson for others, the minutia of their day are personal for their growth and reckoning.

From a User-centric EA perspective, I believe we should focus KM initiatives for both organizations and individuals from being a wholesale data dump to being truly meaningful endeavors that have a clarity or purpose and a dignity of the human beings being recorded.


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