Monday, April 25, 2016

It’s Electric!!

Sherman, Mr. Peabody and the WABAC machine
For the inaugural post in the Fresh Eyes series I’ve chosen a disruptive favorite: The Thunderbolts’ Project Electric Universe.

A couple of years ago, when I first looked into Thunderbolts I experienced a flashback. Suddenly I was taken back to my Akron, OH, Hyre Junior High School science class via Mr. Peabody’s WABAC Machine.

Mr. Maveredes, our outstanding teacher, was belittling one of my classmates. “Next time do you’re your homework or you’ll end up extinct just like the dumb dinosaurs,” he was saying. “They were so dumb that they all died out.”

Today, a current theory explaining the demise of the dinosaurs and a bunch of other creatures has nothing to do with their intelligence and more to do with stuff hitting the earth from somewhere out there.

My point is, thinking changes - even in science.

Please check out the video below. The thinking is different and makes a lot of sense, too. For more break though thinking, please visit the Movement’s

"A recently published scientific paper is creating a firestorm of media coverage around the world. The paper’s lead author, Daniel Whitmire, proposes that the hypothesized Planet X, a never-discovered body believed by some to exist in the outer solar system, is responsible for mass extinctions on Earth approximately every 27 million years. Recently, researchers at Caltech have inferred Planet X’s presence from orbital anomalies in Kuiper Belt objects. Wal Thornhill discusses the tenability of these claims from an Electric Universe perspective."

Mass Extinctions in the Electric Universe | Space News
Published on Apr 21, 2016
EU2016 Conference: Elegant Simplicity//June 17-19

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Now We Know!

With the recent disclosure that Mr. Trump may soon be moderating his comments and become more acceptable to the mainstream Republicans, we now know the truth. It's all been some weird trip!*

 Whew! I am greatly relieved to know that The Donald is just one more of the same-old-same-old American political people... say X to get nomination... then say X.2 to make the powers that be happy.

Is he really the Man From Planet X??

Apologies to the real man from planet X. The Man From Planet X is a 1951 American science fiction film starring Robert Clarke, Margaret Field and William Schallert. It was directed by Edgar G. Ulmer. Here's the trailer:

See the whole, outstanding movie here:

* From CNN: Paul Manafort, Trump's senior adviser and a long-time Republican operative, said that Trump understands the changing nature of the campaign and is prepared to "evolve."

"He recognizes that things aren't static. That what is right to start the campaign isn't necessarily the way you finish the campaign," Manafort told CNN Thursday night after he met with RNC officials here.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Mama Said

It was 1961. I remember hearing the Shirelles singing “Mama Said” on my newly purchased one-transistor radio. It had a pull-out antenna and once in a great while I could hear CKLW out of Canada at my parents’ home in Akron, Ohio.

When "Mama Said" ended, CK ran a commercial or two and then the newsguy came on.

“Someday I’m going to be a newsguy, too,” I thought.

I did achieve that goal. By the time I was 20 I was working the early morning shift at a Cleveland fm station reading the news.

Radio, TV and print journalism seemed like a legitimate thing in 1970. People had faith in it. After all, it was the Cronkite era. We believed we were hearing truth and reading facts.

Today, things have changed. According to a recent Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and the American Press Institute study, faith in journalism is at an all time low, ranking next to faith in Congress, about 6 percent. That’s only 6 percent of those surveyed said that they have a lot of confidence in the media. We already knew that about Congress.

I wonder what my hero, Walter Cronkite would say.

For me, I place my confidence level at the 0% level – meaning I now seriously question everything I hear, see or read from the “legitimate” media. "That’s not all bad," I can hear Cronkite say. Because no matter what we are reading, seeing or hearing, we should always ask more questions in order to ferret out something that resembles “truth”. - RB

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Piracy with a “Legal” Cover

Spying this sign (above) brought to my mind the current state of American Predatory Capitalism… piracy with a “legal” cover.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Live Here & Help Back Home

James Stewart was housebound in Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window
If you’re like many “Boomers”, when opportunity knocked you moved many miles away from your hometown to take advantage of career opportunities. That meant leaving family behind. Of course, it didn’t matter that much back then. Everyone was younger and healthier.

Today, if you are lucky to still have them, Mom, Dad, siblings, other family members, friends and loved ones have somehow gotten older and maybe even housebound. (1.)

For any number of reasons, they need assistance at home and you are not there to help out.

Famous for being a world loser when it comes to healthcare, The United States is even more of a loser when it comes to helping homebound citizens recuperate or age at home. You are pretty much on your own unless you have family and / or friends to bring you food, cook, clean or help you with personal hygiene – let alone make sure you take the correct medications, eat the right food and follow your prescribed rehabilitation therapy.

Even if you are lucky enough to qualify for a visiting nurse or aide you will still need a lot more help just to get through the day.

Recently, while I was searching for help for a homebound friend, I discovered United Way Worldwide. They are making a tremendous effort to fill the healthcare connection gap through their 2-1-1 program. While I didn’t find a program here in Southeastern Michigan (United Way Southeastern MI does help you connect to a multitude of services) for calling my friend at home each day, I did find that nonprofits in some communities are operating such programs for their citizens.

Nat Price volunteers with the 211 Helpline as a Sunshine
Program caller. Price, 100, makes daily phone calls
to housebound senior citizens. Credit :Palm Beach Post
For example, Palm Beach, FL and the Treasure Coast Counties, are blessed with the nonprofit, 211 Helpline Sunshine Program, through which volunteers phone the housebound on a regular basis to check to see how they are doing. It’s the one-on-one contact which appeals to me. At least someone is talking with your loved one and listening for signs of health deterioration, such as slurred speech, fatigue or disorientation. And, if there is no answer, the volunteer can call for help and have someone visit the homebound person.

From 100-year-old volunteer connects with housebound seniors, Janis Fontaine,The Palm Beach Post, 23 July 2015:
“(Nat) Price is a devoted volunteer for the 211 Helpline, a national nonprofit referral service that connects people in need with someone who can help them, just by dialing 211 on any phone, 24 hours a day. Price works as a Sunshine Program caller, making daily phone calls to housebound seniors just to say hi and to check on their well-being. The local program has 24 volunteers and one full-time supervisor who call more than 500 seniors every day.”

“Some might want to chat, others just say, ‘Hello,’ and ‘I’m okay’ and hang up. That’s fine with Price and the others, because that two-second phone call is enough to reassure family members that their loved one is okay, and it gives peace of mind to the seniors that someone will notice — and take action — if they don’t answer. If a caller can’t reach someone, a supervisor gets involved. In about 10 cases each year, that intervention has rescued a senior in crisis.”

“The Sunshine Program volunteers get to know these people so intimately, they may pick up on just the smallest change. When an alert Sunshine caller heard a woman she knew well slurring her words, she told her supervisor who sprang into action. The women was having a stroke. Thanks to the alert caller, she got the help she needed.”

“Another benefit of the program is that people can continue to live at home, Price says, and stay as independent as possible, which is important to Price, too.”

To directly address the “housebound” challenge, the Japanese adopted a program called Fureai Kippu, “caring relationship tickets”. In operation since 1995, Fureai Kippu is an electronic currency. The program is designed to facilitate a person to earn credits by caring for a local person who is in need of care or assistance. As Fureai Kippu service hours accumulate they can be saved for the individual’s own use in the future, or transferred to someone of their choice, such as a parent or family member who lives elsewhere in the country and who needs similar help.

“Currently, some 374 non-profit organizations in Japan are issuing and participating in exchanging Fureai Kippu across the country through two computerized clearing houses.”

“A surprising part of the project has been that the elderly tend to prefer the services provided by people paid in Fureai Kippu over those paid in yen. Those surveyed all agreed that to convert this community service to yen would dilute the sense of community and genuine care based on compassion.” (2.)

Since we don't yet have a Fureai Kippu program here in the U.S., I think my friend could greatly benefit from a local 2-1-1 Sunshine Program. Do you have a friend who could, as well?

1. About 70 % of those using home healthcare services are age 65 and older. In this age group, the most common medical conditions requiring home care are: heart disease, diabetes, and cerebral vascular diseases.
Over 1/3 of the persons requiring in-home care are under age 60, availing assistance for rehabilitation, are disabled, or have chronic health conditions, often requiring patient aids for assistance.
A majority, 80 %, of those over age 60, choose to live independently, in comfort and with an enhanced quality of life. Source: The US Home Healthcare Industry Overview and Trends – 2009 

2. Fureai Kippu – Compassion is the new currency, ADMIN, Gratis Basis, 4 Jul 2013.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Hey!! It's Not Working!

Our economic system is not working for us - the 99.9%.

So, how do we make a "...more resilient, human way of doing business?"

Dr. Douglas Ruskoff provides a path to a solution in his latest book: Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus.

Here's an excerpt from a recent review:
"The rules, Rushkoff argues, were made not by God, but by aristocrats around the 11th century, intent on preventing the peasants from creating a vibrant economy not controlled by the ruling class. Today, the rules can be whatever we want them to be. Rushkoff doesn't want a revolution, just a rethinking. 'They worked really well for 700 years of colonial expansion,' he says, 'but they could use a tweak or two.'"

"Can we actually get there? Will the people made rich by the current economic system listen to his prophecies and realize their success is built on a crumbling foundation and alter their business models—and the very system that made them successful in the first place? Rushkoff says he thinks we can, and that it won't take economic collapse or violent revolution, but just common sense (he admits, he's having an optimistic week). He writes in the book that CEOs he talks to are exhausted by being forced into the short term thinking of quarterly growth, and says that as people are reading the book, they're relieved, because the solutions within give them a path to a better business model: 'I'm getting emails from CEOs from Fortune 50-sized companies saying, 'I can use this, it's going to work.' Because these CEOs have been looking for ways to reconfigure to this slow-growth, new normal economy that we're actually in without getting fired or sued.'"

"So just remember, human beings made this system, and human beings can change it. And one thing we all can agree on is that the system isn't working: 'Big business and small business, extreme libertarians and Bernie Sanders people all are looking toward the same solution. … We're realizing that we don't really care about our ideologies as much as about the fact that we've let a system get out of control.'"

Please read the review, Does This Make My Customers Rich? Business Tips For The Future Steady-State Economy, Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus, Douglas Rushkoff 

Rushkoff argues, "...that the free market isn't written in stone and illustrates a path to a more resilient, human way of doing business." It's about time someone came up with a human way of doing business. Don't you agree? - RB

Go here for an excellent audio interview: KQED Forum with Michael Krasny,
Host Scott Shafer, 24 Mar 2016.

Dr. Rushkoff's C-SPAN BookTV Interview

Monday, April 4, 2016

Timeout for Sanity

We all have our heads into our own lives… rushing here and there… trying to make a buck, meet a deadline. Well here’s a sobering fact: 90 people will die today due to guns.

Can’t we place our attention for a few moments on that fact, confront the issue, then make at least one change for the better?

Dan Gross, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, explains the one change we can make today: Dan Gross: Why gun violence can't be our new normal

"It doesn't matter whether you love or hate guns; it's obvious that the US would be a safer place if there weren't thousands of them sold every day without background checks. Dan Gross, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, makes a passionate, personal appeal for something that more than 90 percent of Americans want: background checks for all gun sales. 'For every great movement around the world, there's a moment where you can look back and say, 'That's when things really started to change,' Gross says. 'For the movement to end gun violence in America, that moment is here.'"

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Putting Care Back in Life

The other day I was shaken by the fact that a friend had gone through months of lonely debilitating illness, yet no one knew the full extent of seriousness of her condition.

A vivacious, highly intelligent woman, she held high-level management position in IT for several Fortune 500 companies. She worked internationally, as well, traveling to the Middle East for one of her automotive industry corporations – during a time when, especially for an American woman, gender-based prejudices were stacked against her. She was successful and fulfilled in her position.

A year or so later, the top level management changed and the inevitable corporate politics took its devastating toll. She was booted out. So goes the corporate world, on top one day, being praised as the best manager in the world and out the next because the new CEO or Chairman wants “fresh eyes”.

Fortunately, for my friend, a short time later she landed another equally rewarding and fulfilling position. She was back on top.

My point is that this lady has never given up. She has always overcome whatever roadblock has come her way.

A few weeks ago, her neighbor, by chance, discovered her unconscious in her driveway. She was rushed to the hospital emergency room, where she received several units of blood and later began weeks of therapy to recover use of her legs and regain her balance due to the stroke she had suffered.

While in the hospital someone robbed her home, stealing all of her valuables. After trashing the place they left - leaving on the water in the upstairs bathroom. The resulting damage was extensive, costing more than $60,000 to repair.

The good news is my friend is on the road to recovery and with the help of an outstanding realtor she has managed to sell her home. Today, she is temporarily living with her cousin while she recuperates and decides her next steps.

The moral of this story:
Life is good. Life is hard. Repeat, not necessarily in the same order.
When life is good, try to help others.
When life is hard, seek help and you will find it.