Homeless and Hungry

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I took this photo in Washington, DC.


Two statues of back-to-back homeless people in the grit on the sidewalk.


They sit as everyone rushes on past them–many stone faced as well as too many stone hearted.


In this case, someone put the newspaper Street Sense on the lap of the statue. 


As many in DC, the homeless are trying to get back on their feet in this case by writing articles for and selling this newspaper about homelessness, poverty, and social issues. 


Impressive that they sell about 16,000 of the biweekly 16-page paper and that the homeless vendors make about $45 per day doing this. 


Like this picture of the homeless on the street, bracing back against each other and sort of huddled up among the masses of the fortunate around them, I imagine that they must really feel like these statues–odd, uncomfortable, lost, scared, and painted over by society that marks them as dirty, dangerous, and unwanted.


But these homeless and hungry are G-d’s children, no less than any of us!


I applaud Street Sense and other advocates and activists that see, hear, and feel beyond themselves and help the needy and downtrodden. 


Helping these people in desperate need is truly G-d’s work, and like recently sainted, Mother Teresa, is an act of unbelievable kindness and mercy that we can all learn from and should emulate.😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

You Changing My What

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


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


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


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


Can anyone say reorganization? 


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


The real changes may actually make you stronger.😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Computer Luminaries

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


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


1) Doug Englebart – the GUI and Mouse


2) Dennis Ritchie – C and Unix


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


5-6) Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard – HP 


7) Gordon Moore – Intel


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


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


11) Steve Wozniak – Apple I and II


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


12) Steve Jobs – Apple


13) Bill Gates – Microsoft


14-15) Larry Paige and Sergey Brin – Google


16) Jeff Bezos – Amazon 


17) Mark Zuckerberg – Facebook


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


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


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


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


(Source Photos: Andy Blumenthal)

Big Government Turnaround

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


Sort of ironic for this sign that says:

“Big Government Sucks”


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


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


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


– Dictatorial, corrupt, and discriminatory. 


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


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


– When it is bureaucratic and ineffective. 


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


– When it looks after the needy and less fortunate.


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


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


This is a big problem to turnaround?  


But with smart, committed, and moral leadership it can be done!😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Did You Know You’re A Sinner

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

“Sin Awareness Day”


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


Innocently, I ask, “Well, what have I done?”


The missionary answers with a stern face, “I’m sure you have lied!”


I said, “I don’t think so,” but then to play alone, I smirked and said, “Well what if I did?”


He answers and says, “You’ll need to repent!”


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


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


I challenged and said, “Well, how about Moses?”


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


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


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


Then breaking this historical context and glancing at the back of the postcard that he handed out, I did like this one thing that it said:

“Sin is not primarily a measure of how bad you are, but a measure of how good you are not.”


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


In that I am definitely a believer!  ;-)


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Heads Down, Pants Down

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


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


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


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


And despite our touting our own horn of achievements at the UN yesterday, in the Wall Street Journal today, the former prime minister of Denmark and secretary-general of NATO is crying out on behalf of the world and imploring the U.S. to once again lead in the world, stating:

“We desperately need a U.S. president who is able to lead the free world and counter autocrats…right now, the [global] village is burning…we need a policeman to restore order; we need a firefighter to put out the flames.”


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


– “Middle East is torn by war”


– “Libya has collapsed and become a breeding ground for terrorists”


– “Resurgent Russia has brutally attacked and grabbed land by force from Ukraine”


– “China is flexing its muscles against its neighbors”


– “Rogue state of North Korea is threatening nuclear attack”


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


– “One year after Iran deal, Iran’s right’s violations and aggression continue [unabated]”


But aside from fighting terrorism and despots in the world, even when it comes to fighting for critical civil rights, there is weakness and disillusionment (today from Jason Riley in the Journal):

“By almost any traditional metric,–home-ownership, median incomes, labor participation, poverty–blacks are worse off today than they were at the start of Mr. Obama’s first term.” 


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


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


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

United Nations, UNjust

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

It’s predominantly UNjust and corrupt!

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

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

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

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

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

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

1) Russia in Georgia and Ukraine

2) China in the South China Sea

3) India in Kashmir

4) Turkey in Cyprus

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

Nazi Holocaust 11.0M

Ukraine 4.6M

Cambodia 2.1M

Bangladesh 1.7M

Armenia 1.1M

Rwanda 1.2M

Indian Partition .6M

Syria .5M

Greek .5M

Brazil .4M

Croatia .4M

Darfur .3M

Cambodia .2M

Pogroms .1M

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

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

(Source Photo: here with attribution to United Nations)