What Do You Do With Fear?

Thought this was a really good perspective on fear.


“You have two options:


Forget Everything And Run


Or


Face Everything And Rise”


It the old fight or flight!


– Running may be good when you can avoid a devastating fight and get yourself and your loved one to safety.


– But sometimes you don’t have that option and you have to “fight the good fight” and overcome the devils you face. 


Everyone is afraid of something(s) and/or somebodies. 


If someone isn’t afraid then they are brain dead!


Strengthen yourselves, ready yourselves, and pray. 


What do you fear and how will you face it? 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Sexual Acting Out

There is now a seemingly endless slate of sexual harassment allegations against some of the biggest shots from Hollywood to Washington, D.C. 


From the longest-serving Congressmen to the biggest star of morning television news, it seems that no one is sacrosanct.


Is it just that “absolute power corrupts absolutely”?


Or maybe it’s more broadly to be stated, as the Rabbi noted on Shabbat, that: 

“G-d created man perfectly imperfect!”

Men and women are created with sexual urges to procreate, bond emotionally and physically, and enjoy each other. 


Men tend to be the stronger than women and are able to have children into old age, and perhaps, it can be said, have the bigger “urge to merge.


Sure, there are women who are normally sexually active, and also those who are perhaps hypersexual (nympomaniac, “cougars,” etc.) and who commit sexual abuse too.


In fact, it was interesting that Wikipedia actually breaks rape down into 4 gender on gender categories:


– Rape of females by males

– Rape of females by females

– Rape of males by females

– Rape of males by males


Issues with physical intimacy and sexual harassment and violence span both sexes, however, it is also clear that:

“Rape affects women disproportionately, with the majority of people convicted being men.”


In the U.S., the statistics show gross levels of sexual violence to women:


– 1 in 5 women will be raped in their lifetime (vs 1 in 71 men).


– 91% of victims of rape and sexual assault are female.


Also, particularly disturbing is the number of girls and boys targeted:


– 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be sexually abused before age 18. 


What type of society have we created, where women and children are not generally safe?


It’s interesting to me in Judaism that there is a recognition of sexual impulse, and that some Hasidim actually wear a “gartel” belt when praying to physically and spiritually separate the upper half of the body with the head and heart, from the lower half with the more animal instincts.


In short, the head and heart need to control the animal part of people. 


Unfortunately, this doesn’t seem to be happening in so many cases. 


Stunned from the outpouring of sexual allegations nearly everyday now, I said to my wife: 

“What is wrong with these people? They have it all: position, power, and wealth; and yet, they throw it all away –including their integrity and reputations–for a five minute lay in the hay!”


Is the animal instinct too strong for the person to control? That just isn’t going to cut it.


As a functioning society, it’s got be completely unacceptable for people to act out sexually or otherwise violently hurt their neighbors. 


It’s time for social reform and for the animals to be controlled by the people. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Wrapped In Bubble Wrap

So I thought this was an interesting risk management strategy…


One colleague joked with me that:

“Everyone should just wrap themselves in bubble wrap!”

Reminded me of that game where people put on big wearable inflatable bumpers and then smash into each other for fun.


The problem though is that sometimes we put on the bubble wrap, bulletproof vest, or seat belt, but then we get stupidly overconfident. 


We think we are protected, but nothing human in impenetrable. 


So the person with the seat belt and air bag drives too fast and off a cliff and still gets him/herself killed. 


Or the person with the bulletproof vest gets shot with a high caliber armor piercing shell or in the back of the head.


Like on many cars, where the mirror says, “objects in mirror are closer than they appear,” we need not over rely on safety, protective, and risk measures and still do stupid things.


One guy told me, he backed up into the wall in the garage, because he thought there was more room and that’s not how things looked in the mirror. 


Let’s face it, there is no bubble wrap that can fully protect us from life. 


Everyday we face risks out there, and we need to manage them with common sense or else… 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Navy Under Attack

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So there was another collision of a U.S. Navy Destroyer.


The Navy destroyer collided early today with an oil tanker off of Singapore. 


10 sailors are missing and there is significant hull damage. 


This is the 4th known accident just this year of our Navy vessels in Asia waters.


And previously I wrote incredulously about the last Navy collision with a massive container ship in June that resulted in 7 dead. 


How do U.S. Navy ships with the most advanced sensors, navigation, weapons, and command and controls systems in the world–that are supposed to be protecting us–just simply collide with other ships like toys in a bathtub?


These Navy ships are a vital projection of U.S. might, and are supposed to be able to keep the worst foes away and keep our dedicated men and women warfighters safe at sea–whether from bomb-laden terrorist attack speed boats to anti-access/area denial missiles and all threats from on, above, or below. 


Yet, they just keep crashing…


There was supposedly some buzz online about a stealthy new cyber weapon that is attacking our ships and making them useless and helpless pieces of (G-d forbid) floating junk at sea or perhaps enabling them to be hacked and electronically commandeered and controlled in order to crash them.


Either way, how many collisions does it take for this to become a concerning problem with our Navy’s ability to manage the ships under their command and be ever war-ready. 


Our ships are a major element of our national strength and security, and loss of control implies a potentially great risk to our nation. 


We need our Navy and their tremendous people, assets, and expertise to safeguard our people, freedom, and democracy.


A few months ago, there was a hackathon to test the Navy’s systems’ security–and most certainly, this is a crucial type of test that we potentially face every day in real life.


These are challenging times for everything cybersecurity, so let’s make sure we have all the capabilities we need and are fully up to the task to defend ourselves and take out our enemies–it’s not just our Navy in the spotlight and at risk. 😉 


(Source Photo: With attribution to CNN and adapted from here)

How Stupid Can Metro Be

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While Metro has been touting its Get Back to Good (“Back2Good“) plan and campaign, unfortunately, it is still continuing to mess up big and stupid. 


Part of Metro’s hailed upgrades is to the new 7000-series trains. 


They look better than the old crappy and filthed up train cars from before–including the extremely worn and ripped icky orange seats and carpets.


In that respect, the stainless and more modern-looking replacement trains are most welcome.


However, check out the negligent and hazardous middle doors on many of these train cars. 


Do you see the absolutely stupid handle bars that jut out into the oft busy entry-exit passenger doors. 


Yesterday, I got caught in a mob racing out of one of the train cars, and my upper thigh got danged and good on these ridiculous and reckless handlebars in the doorway! 


Who would put these jutting out into a doorframe???


Anyway, my leg is red, swollen, painful, and I am limping good from this. 


Hey, is there a good personal injury lawyer out there on the web that works on commission (lol, I think)?


I am so grateful to G-d if this doesn’t end up messing with my hip replacement. 


What is it about Metro that they just seem to act brainless with the basics. 


This was supposed to the year of getting back to track safety and train reliability (getting the trains on time), but I guessed they seriously missed the train safety part!


Oh by the way, the reliability isn’t all that “good” either (forget great…they gave up on that a while ago)!  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Fighting Domestic Abuse

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I came across these excellent graphics used to educate and prevent against domestic dominance and abuse.


The first wheel shows how “power and control” are used to instill fear and dominate domestic partners as well as in an overall pattern of relationships with physical and sexual violence:


– Intimidation

– Emotional Abuse

– Isolation

– Minimizing, Denying, and Blaming

– Using Children

– Male Privilege

– Economic Abuse

– Coercion and Threats


In contrast, the second wheel displays positive patterns of “equality” in relationships and nonviolence and are marked by the following attributes:


– Non-threatening behavior

– Respect

– Trust and Support

– Honesty and Accountability

– Responsible Parenting

– Shared Responsibility

– Economic Partnership

– Negotiation and Fairness


Have you ever noticed a pattern of domestic abuse behaviors that include the following?


– Constantly lecturing on political views the other person should hold.

– Keeping them away from their family and friends.

– Controlling the major life decisions.

– Hiding money and accounts.

– Demanding the partner stay home with the kids indefinitely.

– Using emotional withdrawal and/or passive aggressiveness to control.

– Requiring the other person to be available whenever they want.


Spouses and partners should be your best friend and not your servant or dog to kick when you get home.


Watch out for those who exhibit the bad behaviors and patterns of abuse and violence…and stay safe in good and healthy relationships! 😉


(Source Photo: Domestic Abuse Intervention Project – Duluth Model)

The Great Trump Wall

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So today, President Trump signed the executive order to start the process of putting up the border wall with Mexico. 


Generally, I don’t think anyone with a heart seriously questions the need to continue robust immigration for those in need that are seeking asylum or refuge from all sorts of persecution as well as for humanitarian reasons…of course, we must continue to have empathy and be kind and compassionate to people, period. 


However, the Great Trump Wall needs to go up to secure our borders.


We have over 11 million illegal immigrants in the U.S. and roughly 400,000 crossing the border and settling here illegally on an annual basis. 

With human trafficking, illegal drugs and weapons, criminals and terrorists, and others just coming on over willy nilly, this is not the way to secure a nation’s border or run a country. 


We have the right and responsibility to create safety and security for people. 


Running across the border, catch and release, or just illegally staying is not a policy, but rather immigration chaos. 


We and our families all came to this country seeking a better life and are so fortunate to be here, and we should and must pay it forward.


Immigration should be based on well-thought and sound policy that genuinely helps people in need and advances the interests of the nation.

In terms of freedom, equality, and human rights, we definitely want to tear down the walls the separate us!


However, for border security, catch me if you can is not a strategy or policy–just plain neglect and chaos. 😉


(Source Photo: Dannielle Blumenthal–funny pic because I was actually pretending to tear it down.)

Guns Are American

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So we can argue who exactly should be allowed to have guns in America.


But we can’t argue that the 2nd Amendment generally guarantees people the right “to keep and bear arms.”


Sure background checks are an important safety and security check to ensure we aren’t putting guns in the hands of criminals, terrorists, abusers, or mentally incompetent individuals. 


At the same time, people should be able to responsibly own and use them for hobby or self-defense. 


Some guns are even a work of art and not just a killing machine. 


Pictured here is an American Joe with etchings of USA and wings representing freedom and of course, the painting of the American flag for strength and patriotism. 


Not quite the golden AK-47 that Saddam Hussein sported, but nevertheless a beautiful and deadly .45 caliber one. 


With over 300 million guns in the USA, there is just about one for everyone. 


In America, there is a grand tradition of the Old West, but it’s also important to balance that with responsibility and safety. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

America’s Great Disappointment

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So the Wall Street Journal asks today,”Why [Is] This Recovery Is So Lousy“?


They say that with Obama, “No president was ever better positioned to lead a strong recovery…no resources were spared…yet not once in the last seven years has annual economic growth ever reached [even] 3%.”


But the news gets worse, in fact, “U.S. GDP grew a disappointing 1.2% in the second quarter…[and] economic growth is now tracking at a 1% rate in 2016…that makes for an average annual 2.1% rate since the end of the recession.”


And that is after Obama’s $836 billion stimulus and $3 trillion in Federal reserves injected into the economy!


The Great Recession may be the most disastrous economic results short of the Great Depression itself.


However, this is not the only reason Americas are disappointed with what they are getting from Washington (and we won’t even talk about the candidates).


80% say we are heading in the wrong direction!  Let’s repeat that again, 80% say we are heading in the wrong direction.


Harvard Business Review says it’s not just the economy stupid, since we still [despite ourselves–with failing policies of enormous tax and spend and over-regulation] rank #5 on GDP per capita. 


Yet that doesn’t translate into overall social progress for us.


Get this, the U.S. ranks 19th in social progress in the world–just one place above Slovena!


Why???


– We rank 26th on personal rights because of restrictions on freedoms like the right of assembly. 


– We rank 27th on personal safety because of high homicides and poor road safety.


– We rank 36th on environmental quality because of high greenhouse gases and poor water quality.


– We rank 40th on basic knowledge because of poor education and high dropout rates.


– We rank 68th on health and wellness because of suicides, obesity, cancer, and heart disease.


HBR points out that there may be individual reasons for each of these, but overall this is a bleak “troubling picture” and Trump isn’t the one who painted it.


The sad fact is that one of the only things that the U.S. is ranking #1 in the world in is our national debt to everyone else…and this is being squandered. 


Think good and hard about the nation you are leaving your children and grandchildren…this is a horrible performance scorecard for America, the superpower!  😉


(Source of the amazing photo: Minna Blumenthal)

A Matter Of Vigilance

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Getting around town, I have noticed a stark and scary hands-off absence of security. 


So different than the immediate vigilance after the attacks of 9/11 is the sleepiness of our security establishment now. 


Recently, I noticed a security guard not on lookout, but rather on video games on his smartphone while standing post. 


And then again coming down the street today, another guard (no child that is) was putting up handprints on the fogged up glass instead of having their hands safely on (or off) their trigger. 


What was even more frightening was that the guard abruptly turns around while handprinting the windows, as if I did something wrong just walking by, and says to me, “You scared me!”


To which I promptly replied, “Really, you’re the one with the gun!”


It’s incredible how far we have fallen security-wise after the attacks from New York to Paris and Orlando to Kiryat Arba.


In the Wall Street Journal today, Bret Stephens writes, “It’s depressing to think that the only way the world might understand the truth about terrorism is to have some experience of it.” 


Why do we have to be lazy and lackadaisical, playing around with people’s lives, instead of with it and ready to prevent the next one and the next one?  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)