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Administrative Law Judge
Corporate Training Specialist  MBA , JD

Associate Legal Counsel to Police Commissioner William Bratton

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Related imageHe is a billionaire and   owns just four pair of shoes and made his billions from selling shoes. There is more. He lives in a trailer surrounded by farm animals and is not your average CEO. He is the owner of ZAPPOS the online shoe store. He says that he has lived in 10 places in his life and by far the trailer life is his favorite. After all he can afford to live anywhere he wants to so why not make it your favorite but why in a trailer surrounded by farm animals? He is Tony Hsiea and is 41 years old. He lives in a 240 square foot Airstream trailer.  He rents it for $950 a month. He says that he cares more about experiences than stuff.

Related imageHe invested $350 Million dollars to clean up downtown Las Vegas. The investment was given to small businesses to create more of a sense of community.  He wanted the area to be more walkable. It must be nice to be so rich that you can create your own vision of a community.  Within a few blocks of his ideal community is ZAPPOS headquarters.  There is no dress code at his place of business or job titles just another feeling of community. At work he calls it a Holacracy where everyone is in charge and anyone can be compelled to do something good for the company.  The employees decorated the board room in a Star   Wars Theme.   The place looks like more fun than business yet everyone is happy and busy.

Related imageWith the employees running the show, there is no upper management and they all say they run the show. The employees even determine their own salaries.  They divide the pay by the budget amount and the number of people that need to be paid. Quite a simple plan. The employees really just want to be there. Could this be the model company for the future? They want to be there even on their day off. It also gives new meaning to the phrase, if the shoe fits,   wear it.  The company is known for its excellent customer service. It is not unlikely that a representative will be on the phone with a customer for an hour helping them decide on a shoe they want.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Why do candidates for President continually talk about abortion instead about the lack of   guide lines for sex education in our nation’s schools? Each area can pretty much stress whatever they want. Should we do that in history class too? Of course not. Perhaps that is why there is more teen pregnancy in some areas than others in America and why frat boys are completely out of control.  We have a department of Health and Education that does nothing to clarify this issue nationally.

With the kids going back to school soon it should be guaranteed that middle school kids should be getting some sort of sex education class but the content is different from state to state. Why is there no required standard for sex education in this country? Only 22 states mandate that kids receive it.  Only 13 states require that the instruction be medically accurate. Really?  You wouldn’t expect that your history class be accurate why not sex class? We have a weird patchwork system that varies in content from not only district to district but from state to state. From school to neighboring school the content could be very different. Why? Is our sexuality different from school to school? Hell no!

Why do candidates for President continually talk about abortion instead about the lack of   guide lines for sex education in our nation’s schools? Each area can pretty much stress whatever they want. Should we do that in history class too? Of course not. Perhaps that is why there is more teen pregnancy in some areas than others in America and why frat boys are completely out of control.  We have a department of Health and Education that does nothing to clarify this issue nationally.

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With the kids going back to school soon it should be guaranteed that middle school kids should be getting some sort of sex education class but the content is different from state to state. Why is there no required standard for sex education in this country? Only 22 states mandate that kids receive it.  Only 13 states require that the instruction be medically accurate. Really?  You wouldn’t expect that your history class be accurate why not sex class? We have a weird patchwork system that varies in content from not only district to district but from state to state. From school to neighboring school the content could be very different. Why? Is our sexuality different from school to school? Hell no!

In Ohio the state has NO guidelines for sex education so each school decides whatever they want to tell their kids on the subject. Many school districts don’t want to talk about it at all. The school won’t even tell you what they teach and when they teach it. Why the big secret? Curriculum should be public information. In Mississippi they can talk about contraceptives   but the law says they can’t demonstrate how to put a condom on say on a banana or cucumber. Maybe that is why Mississippi ranked number 2 in teen pregnancy rates. The kids must be blowing up balloons with the condoms there.  In 8 states ironically located in the south there are laws limiting what teachers can say about sexuality to their students.  

Related imageUtah’s laws state that they are not allowed to discuss “the intricacies of intercourse…”  The lawmakers there say you should be taught that stuff at home. Does anyone want to be homeschooled about sex? Hell no! In certain areas around the country you may receive abstinence only as an education. Sara Palin’s daughter had a abstinence only foundation after her out of wed lock teen pregnancy and then had another child out of wed lock with yet another man. None of this works or makes sense.  We need National guidelines for our nation brought forward by our health and department of education especially before candidates talk about reversing our abortion laws and trying to tear down a good organization like Planned Parenthood.

Congress recently increased funding to $75 million dollars a year for programs that promote sexual abstinence until marriage. Meanwhile according to the CDC the Center for Disease Control the number of sexual partners one has in a lifetime is increasing and the average one starts to have sex is around 17 years old.   Money should be thrown at various birth control options since everyone is having sex anyway including the idiots like the Douger Family with their 21 kids and one of them being a family values pedophile preacher. The average woman loses her virginity at age 17. These kids   cannot   leave school with only abstinence being taught.

At the well watched Republican debate Donald Trump made reference to the announcer’s menstrual cycle like some negative mood swing. We do not need candidates who pass judgement on abortion rights and who make light of the miracle of the many facets of a woman’s body and thoughts. We need a National respect for sexuality in the various shapes and forms America wants.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Related imageIt is the best charity on earth. The gift of knowledge by all for free. It is the gift of Wikipedia. If only more things were as free and giving as the information site is there would be a perfect world for all for free. The gift of sharing goods and services all over the world. Throw all money out. Throw out all greed and hate and suffering. Respect every living thing on earth the only living breathing planet we know. Finally a respect for all thoughts and opinions and ways of life. Well, most of it is a dream but Wikipedia is real.

Over 200 times per second and a billion times a month, someone clicks on Wikipedia. We live in an era of instant gratification and the site satisfies the information argument. The on line encyclopedia debuted 14 years ago and has been updating and perfecting itself daily. It used to be considered a novelty with its accuracy being a hit or miss but not anymore. It has evolved into a very good source for quick and easy concise information. Now it is one of the world’s busiest websites with the accuracy vastly improved.  Most importantly it is a unbiased charity where an army of unpaid collaborators contribute.

Jimmy Wales is the founder of the site and gave it its unusual name.  He says that wiki means quick in Hawaii and he wanted quick collaboration of information given to all for free. Once a year the hard core contributors come together to meet from all over the earth. 2,000 people showed up in London this year speaking many different languages from all over the world. Now this must be the true United Nations providing good for the world truly united in thought and charity. They were people from all ages and economic backgrounds. Yes, young and old, rich and poor joined by the bonds of curiosity over information.

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From Aardvark to ZZ Top it is all edited. It is a never ending worldwide syber conversation. They post new comments and argue about accuracy and what is worthy of notice. There are 12,000 new pages created every day a grand total of 35 million articles in 288 different languages. I didn’t even know there were that many different languages spoken now. It is about 100,000 people from all over the world contributing to the   web site from every political persuasion.   From 5even years old to 75 years old. What they all have in common is that they are all smart and passionate with accuracy. They are careful, cautious and serious. We need more of that in all facets of society.

All people can make an edit and they do. Just hit the edit square and type. Three times per second 12,000 times per hour someone somewhere makes an edit small or large and the articles keep piling up. The growth of the encyclopedia can be endless.  The website’s headquarters is in San Francisco with a staff of about 200 people working in a laid back environment. Their primary importance is to develop rules and computer code to eliminate as many errors as possible. There are computer programs that scan the site for evangelism and vulgarity that is unacceptable. Bias can sometimes be hard to eradicate.  Since it is a non -profit you will not find a single Internet billionaire.
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The money to keep the site up and running comes from donations that are large and small. Last year people from around the world gave $51 Million dollars in 70 different currencies .It means that advertising which is all important on everything else on the Internet is thankfully not even a consideration on Wikipedia. So that makes Jimmy Wales a guy from Huntsville, Alabama the Internet’s most famous knowledge broker.  We all had the limited set of books called the encyclopedia in our living rooms. Then the Internet came in the 1970’s and blew up a new world of current information. No longer did we look to see what was the most recent President mentioned in our sorry pile of books to determine how recent they were. Now we have Wikipedia on the Internet. Jimmy makes a comfortable living from speaking engagements.  

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Related imageHe was number one on the FBI’s Most Wanted List and the agents didn’t even know who he was. Where do old mobsters go to retire? Is it ever possible to steal a bunch of money and live happily ever after somewhere? Well an elderly couple who moved to Santa Monica, California in 1997 tried to begin a new quieter phase of their life. Charlie and Carol Gasko were their fake names for 14 years where they did almost nothing that was memorable meanwhile their apartment was full of supplies, loaded guns and about 800.000 in cash.  I’m talking about the later years of the Boston area notorious gangster Whitey Bolger and his longtime girlfriend.

He was caught and is now in prison in his eighties serving two lifetime prison sentences. She is actually Catherine Greig serving 8 years in prison for being his accomplice and harboring a fugitive. I find it interesting they were hiding in plain sight for many years, being considered the number one most dangerous criminal in America and not even known by anyone anymore. The Federal Agents finally woke up and caught the guy. They lived in an inexpensive rent controlled apartment near the shore. They never had children. Their landlord and neighbors thought they were just another nice and quiet retired couple.  Great tenants who never complained and always paid their rent on time in cash.
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In 2011 the FBI stopped by and ended their quiet retirement. It ended the most extensive manhunt in the FBI’s history. The Agents who were called to arrest him had to look him up on Wilkopedia because no one could remember his crimes.  This guy was a retired Irish mobster who was very famous in his day. In Boston he was involved in extortion and flooding the city with cocaine. He performed and ordered executions that were some at close range, some with many   bullets and at least one strangulation after which he said he took a nap.

There was a Whitey Bolger task force for years. He was charged with 19 counts of murder as well as other crimes. He was an embarrassment to South Boston law enforcement   who couldn’t catch him during these crimes years ago.  Years later Whitey was able to embarrass the FBI as well.  He bought off agents in the Boston office of the FBI who protected him and supplied him with information. Including the tip that allowed him to flee to California just days before he was about to be indicted. It was corruption at its worst.

Related imageIn 2009 two more guys joined the task force meanwhile there hasn’t been a lead in more than a decade. Throughout the years there were thousands of tips but no sightings. One of the main obstacles was that there were not any good photographs of the couple recently.  It was known that the couple shared a love of pets and that she once had breast implants. The two guys reached out to physicians to check their records. Finally one doctor responded and found her files in storage. The records produced high resolution photographs of Catherine Greig. The FBI switched strategies and at this point went after the girlfriend in order to catch the guy.

The FBI ran commercials with a tip line during day time TV and before long it led them to California. The leads led them to their apartment. The couple fed a stray cat did not have driver’s licenses and basically did not exist in society. They bought everything with cash. The landlord and the tenants could not believe that they knew the number one man on the FBI’s Most Wanted List in America.  They got him to emerge from the apartment by telling him that the storage locker in the basement got broken into and to see if his stuff was still there. They caught him without any fuss.

It took so long to find James Whitey Bolger because they were looking for a gangster. This was an 81 year old man living a simple life in a small apartment quietly surrounded by his guns and money.  Federal prosecutors are now preparing to distribute nearly $800,000 dollars to the families of his murder victims.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Related imageThere are too many shoot them up car chases in video games and TV and movies and most of all between the Police and a suspect. It is too dangerous with so many people on the streets that the chase will undoubtably do more harm than good at the end of the day. For Police Departments around the country, high speed car chases are a real problem. Often they can claim the lives of innocent bystanders. Police pursuits are often so dramatic that we can’t look away.  At the end of the drama along with the other charges, a suspect can receive additional charges   for   reckless evasion and felony hit and run.

It is unacceptable collateral damage. Now Police Departments have a new idea that is working to stop high speed chases in pursuit of a suspect and still catch the offender. A USA Today investigation found that 5,000 people of bystanders and passengers   have been killed in police car chases since 1979. Tens of thousands more have been injured.  Over 90% of all chases are for nonviolent crimes.  So, often the pursuit is more dangerous than the violation.  Legislation needs to be done to find the funds to pay for pursuit reduction technology so that more arrogant suspects can be apprehended with no evasive pursuits harming law abiding citizens.
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Police in Austin, Texas and some 20 departments across the country are testing a GPS tracking device where pressing a button from the cops dashboard releases a projectile through compressed air  that attaches to the suspects’ car holding a GPS Device. The Police can then track the suspect’s car by remote and know where he is going without any chasing involved. The system is called Star Chase and through a command center locate the suspect in a safe area to be apprehended. The tagging system is not only safe for the community but also for the officer in pursuit of a suspect. Austin Police claims that Star Search has been a success.  It is the 21st century pursuit solution that puts officers in control.

Since 2013 the system has been deployed more than 40 times with 100% reliability with an arrest rate and no crashes.  Austin has ordered 10 more units at a cost of $5,000 dollars each. These devices are worth every dime if it will stop the drama that kills innocent lives in the way of such pursuits. America needs to calm down.  It is hard on the officer who is pursuing a suspect since he has to concentrate on the suspect getting away while talking on the radio to supervisors telling them what is going on and what you are doing. You have to report how fast you are going and where you are going.
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A police chase can make an officers heart rate double from the trauma of the chase. It makes it difficult to make rational decisions. Most officers are just trying to bring the bad guys to justice and give victim’s closure but we do not need to create more victims in reckless dramatic high speed chases.  Law makers should stop worrying about who will be President in 2 more years and work on improving technology to help police and citizens get along safely together.                                                         

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Related imageWhere are the Hispanic managers in professional baseball? Did Donald Trump throw the Spanish people out of the country yet? I agree with the comic George Lopez on this subject. Yet every professional team seems to be recruiting more Latino players from all over the world than ever. Could it be that Mexicans can play the game but can’t coach? I’m not trying to be racist or anything but I am just noticing things of a racist nature. I saw a line up at a game recently and the names on the backs of the shirts were Cabrera, Sanchez, Suarez, Martinez, and Vizquel. Did Trump throw me out into Mexico? Latinos and Blacks make up now about 40% of Major League Players.

 Yes the announcers and organ player and most of the buying ticket public are white with the owners but that will have to be another blog to talk about. Today we are talking about how brown is the game. The brown people pitch and hit and are even ball boys but management? Not so much brown there. 40% of the assistant coaches are brown. 
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Apparently when it is time to be the head honcho, the Latino’s don’t have what it takes. There are 30 teams in baseball that have 30 managers. 28 of them are white. One black guy and one guy named Gonzalez. In May the Milwaukee Brewers hired a young kid that looks like he doesn’t even shave yet Craig Counsell to be manager. He has no prior coaching experience as six other white managers don’t have when they were hired. Mr. Gonzalez, the one and only Spanish manager in major league baseball spent 17 years as a coaching apprentice before he finally got his shot at the top. You don’t train that long to be a Nero-surgeon or for any other occupation. The Republican Party is more inclusive than baseball. They got 2 Hispanics fighting to be managers of the United States.

Related image Why can’t we get more than one to manage baseball? We all love the game from the poor guys who play stick ball in the streets where broom handles are the bats and man hole covers are the basses to rich kids playing in top notch little league stadiums with lights and concession stands for their sponsored games. Rich or poor, brown, black or white, we all love to play the game. Just let a guy who earned his place get the job by now.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Related imageIf you want to start a family you better get a new job because now the game is all about the benefits. There can be nothing more valuable than more time spent with your new born child as a working parent. At this point in your career you are thinking more about benefits. Netflix the on line streaming company that produces the hit show House of Cards is now setting a new bar height for the corporate world. The company is now offering its employees a full year of paid leave from their jobs for moms and dads   to take care of their new born babies. Wow! That sounds like something a European company might do for their employees, not America.

Related imageHours later, recently, Microsoft revealed its own offer upping their companies paid parental leave to 12 weeks. In the tech world it is difficult to find competent people and the competition is very high. Companies also know that they are being judged by their worker policies and their culture.  In the United States as new parents, they are legally entitled to 12 weeks of unpaid leave but Silicone Valley   has gone above and beyond with all kinds of perks to attract the best in their field.  From Facebook and Apple, they are willing to pay for things like egg freezing to AIR B&B’s $2,000 vacation stipend.  Google even has a bowling alley at work to keep their employees happy.
Image result for baby benefits at tech companies

Are the generous leave policies too good to be true? These are all very competitive companies and there probably will be a cultural stigma about taking full advantages of these offers since no one gets this kind of treatment anywhere else in America.  We lost most of our manufacturing along with all the unions who used to fight for jobs and benefits. So go techie and make your   babies with a feeling of security. Let’s hope that this trend for family friendly benefits will also take off into other American industries. 

Monday, August 17, 2015

Related imageWhat do you do when you really need money for a medical operation that you just can’t afford? You are not alone. Many people are finding themselves in the same situation. There is a movement called crowd-funding care that people are resorting to in a desperate effort to secure funds. Some people have more success in their efforts than others but at least it is an option for a desperate family. On line charitable causes receive billions of dollars in charitable donations. Medical costs are out of control and especially so if you have a serious illness.

People are so desperate for help that they take their causes to the Internet for exposure and help. You can put up fliers around town or you can even beg on street corners but to most people they will shy away from direct contact with a desperate Mom. There is a safer place to donate and to receive funds. The website is called Give forward.  There you can post pictures, describe the operation, explain your hardship and if the viewer wants to, donate funds to you to help with the high priced medical costs. The stress of having to go through a serious operation is bad and then you have to be able to pay for a hefty bill that follows.  People lose jobs all the time and their health insurance too.
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Medical bills are now the leading cause of bankruptcy in America. So, many are going online for help. Give forward has about 14,000 medical fundraisers that most are for people who actually have insurance but is not enough to cover their particular operation.  Kristin Wilkinson already raised more than $50,000 for her infant son’s operation. The child needs a bone marrow transplant. She works for a tech company called Air B&B and her Give forward page was sent to the entire company worldwide where it took off from there raising $20,000 dollars in just 24 hours.  It gave her a renewed faith in humanity.

Medical crowd funding has been successful for a lot of people. An estimated $2.7 billion dollars was raised in 2012 and that number has been going up. Another website called Youcaring.com is helpful too. It is shameful that the wealthiest country that America is has people begging for money just to survive and live a life. They say sharing is caring and the ability to share your needs is important too.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Related imageTrophy hunting Americans are fighting back hiding behind their giant telescoping guns and expensive killing gear. If these idiots love hunting so much then put them in a area full of hungry large animals naked and see how good their hunting skills really are. Many big game hunters brag about their kill numbers on line. They claim that they help conservation efforts but I can’t believe that could be true. Probably only because they pay $50,000 to go to Africa and kill as many as they can find. Ever since news broke that Cecil the lion was killed by a Minnesota Dentist big game hunters have been under attack and I say rightfully so since they are an   arrogant bunch of shameless Americans.
Aaron Neilson is a big game hunter who has been posting pictures on Instagram exploiting all his kills proudly meanwhile he is just a little man hiding behind a big gun pressing one finger on a trigger. Not exactly some heroic killer saving the life of a girl in distress over the mighty beast. Luckily the comments they are receiving are all negative. The Empire State Building with its new lighting system transformed itself into a towering projection screen. It displayed endangered species on the side of the building.  TY toys just came out with a new Cecil the Lion Beanie Baby. The proceeds are going to benefit lion conservation. Delta Airlines said they will no longer transport any game trophies into the country. Another Doctor,   Dr. Jan Seski M.D. is under fire for his big game hunting hobby.  

Related imageHe is also in hiding with angry protesters stalking them.  Conservation groups dispute that their $50,000 fees do not help conservation of animals. Adam Roberts the CEO of Born Free USA says that these wealthy elite Americans do not help any species when they kill them. It is a thrill kill. The IUCN  The World Conservation Union did a study and found that hunting provided less than 1/3 of 1% of Zimbabwe GDP so the money is not even helping the economy in Africa much. Hunting accounts for less than 5% of Tourism.  The National Parks in Africa are not fenced in so animals could wander off into unprotected areas.  Conservation groups along with the Humane Society   have wanted the African lion to be placed on the endangered species list.  If they were, American   hunters could still hunt them legally but importing the trophies   would be forbidden. These trophies are the heads and animal skins.
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There are fewer than 34,000 African lions in the wild and hunters kill an average of 660 lions per year.  Nearly 2/3rs of the trophies are brought back by American hunters. Americans are by far the biggest population of trophy hunters worldwide. These idiot hunters want to kill the beasts even if they are not permitted to bring the skins and heads back to the United States.  They like the thrill of pulling a trigger? Idiots!  Now Zimbabwe officials are looking to arrest the American Doctors on poaching charges. Make it all illegal and let them put the hunters in jail.  We actually have United States Laws to protect wildlife in foreign countries.  There is the Lacey Act   signed into law by President McKinley in 1900. Even if they didn’t break any laws, these hunters now feel like they are in the middle of opposing opinions.  Just stop the killing.  

Friday, August 14, 2015

Related imageIt is nice to offer rental bicycles in major cities like Boston and New York but how about our politicians create   laws and roads to protect cyclists and pedestrians from harm? People are doing more commuting by bicycle more than ever in this country. It has increased by 60% in the past decade. It probably will keep growing as the population does and if people could only feel safer hopping on a bicycle given the congested roads only two wheels must navigate. You would think the health benefits to exercise, the reduction of auto emissions and just plain quiet would have people pushing more for bicycles as a mode of transportation in America.

In other countries bicycles are welcomed but on our city streets it is part of a war to get ahead on a congested road shared with trucks, busses and cars people too. There are plenty of Go Pro videos on line showing the too aggressive cyclist or the cars and people that get in the way resulting in serious accidents. In Europe there is more respect for the cyclists and not so many dare devils on the roads. So why ride a bike when you have a perfectly good car at home? In the last 3 years alone there has been a 20% increase in bikers killed on American roads. On average, more than two a day. Trucks drive into bike lanes and just run the cyclists over.
Related imageIt is hard to deal with tragedy but when the drivers of the trucks are never charged that is a whole different issue. Politicians should stop talking about women’s vagina's, or Hillary’s old e-mails or Trump and his wacky comments. We need a sensible person to enforce bike accident rules. Some idiots are saying cyclists deserve to die on the roads because they are on a bicycle. In all 50 states killing someone on a bicycle is nothing more than a misedeamer.  Then there are the dare devil messenger cyclists zigzagging through traffic and running over pedestrians. Dare devil bikers sprint around Central Park and post their times on line proudly meanwhile some run over pedestrians walking in crosswalks.

These are all signs that authorities have no idea how to regulate biking in America. The dead pedestrians have no charges given to the dare devils even years after their loved ones have died as a result of a cyclist’s accident. We need to look to Europe especially Copenhagen which is the largest city in Denmark. On a typical morning in a city of 2 million people nearly half of them commute by bike. The cyclists do exist in peaceful harmony with the rest of the traffic. They have an entire 8 foot wide lane to themselves on every road. Their lanes are fully protected with their own turn signals and stop lights.  There are bike only highways and brick lanes just for bikes at malls. There are even multi-level parking garages just for bikers.    
Related imageThis would be some futuristic dream for Americans but it is a working reality in Denmark. It is interesting that it all is already operational and working in Denmark and could be a sample city for all American cities. Put our bloated Chris Christy on a bike and work on improving the infrastructure of roads and see how his health improves too. 50 years ago Copenhagen looked like the ugly belching wasteland of smelly cars that our cities look like. We can ‘t just plop bicycles on city streets for rental profits without having a Mayor for city planning to provide safe controlled bike lanes and enforce the proper punishment for crimes committed involving bikers.  
When will our priorities for transportation be bikes first, public transport next, walking and cars last? The benefits to a city is many. Copenhagen is one of the most environmentally friendly cities in all the world. They save more than a quarter Billion dollars in health care each year thanks to bikes keeping people fit. Just one biker was killed in all of last year there. Bikes can be safe, healthy and economical and practical but give the two wheelers a decent place to ride. It is actually the fastest way to get anywhere in a city. America needs to get away from the perception that a bike is simply for sport and recreation

In Amsterdam 60% of the people there use a bike on a daily basis.  They need to plan for parking garages there because people just park their bikes everywhere.  The train stations are particularly congested with bikes parked waiting for the owners to return from their trips. Imagine a scene like that someday somewhere in America.  In Amsterdam they might have too much of a good thing but even their problems can be solved if their elected officials create parking garages for bikes. Our very own Minneapolis is becoming a proud safe bike friendly city with their only 6% of bikers but we need more cities to follow the pattern so we can grow to 60% as Copenhagen is.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Related imageSummer sports programs will soon come to an end and everyone will get a trophy. I prefer the days when an exceptional athlete earned their trophy but call me old fashioned. Today most kids do not really need to accomplish much to get a trophy. In many youth leagues around the country everyone gets a trophy for first place and last place even for kids that don’t show up at all. This shift in thinking that everyone is a champ I think is actually hurting this generation of kids.  It will only leave them ill-equipped to compete in the real world. 
It has become a shift in American culture that leaves the impression that we only produce winners. Brian Saunders is the President of i9 Sports in Tampa, Florida. He runs about 1,000 sports leagues across the United States. It is not unusual that as many as 650 kids will participate in a event and that all 650 kids will receive a trophy. I understand that the goal is to make each child feel special but it is inaccurate and sends a very untruthful message about a kids sports qualifications. Oh, I forgot, now there aren’t any real qualifications. This behavior is going on in youth sports leagues all around the country.  Sign up and your kid is guaranteed a trophy. The parent feels good and the kid will have something to show to his grandkids.

Win or lose welcome to America’s trophy culture. Sure everyone is smiling on trophy day but has anyone even earned the honor? It isn’t even a trophy for effort or trying. Psychologists feel that this trophy culture is actually harming our kids. The real world does not work by getting accolades for just being good enough. We are sending our kids the wrong message. By making kids feel so special for no reason, it has actually failed to teach them how to succeed. So, now we have a culture of Americans who believe they deserve stuff for simply showing up. Researcher Ashly Merryman has written extensively on this subject. I am not saying that it is a felony if a 7 year old gets a trophy but they need to earn things.

Related imageNow the kid with all his trophy’s mom made sure he got by enrolling him in these programs is in college and gets a C in a subject. He immediately blames the teacher for his mediocre grade that he earned. The trophies do not lead to achievement but lead to delusion. A percentage of college students think they are smarter than they really are. I am all for great self- esteem but it must be substantiated by real substance. Ivy League schools used to be tough to be in but even there in the recent generation grades have gone up. Are our kids any smarter? Hell no! Just more demanding because that is the only lesson they learned.

A recent survey stated that college students believe they should get at least a B grade simply for attending a class regularly. The trophy business is now a full-fledged industry. Scott Slendon is the President of JDS Industries in Sioux Falls, South Dakota where there are warehouses full of trophies to the size of multiple football fields. It is one of the biggest trophy wholesalers in the world. Recognition is an industry in the 2 Billion dollar range. Scott’s parents owned a trophy store that used to bring in about $30 thousand per year. His second generation company brings in Billions of dollars a year. Do we really need all that gold plated plastic?

Teams now don’t keep score and if your name is on the roster regardless of attendance or performance, you get a trophy even if you are 19 years old. The parents love it. With no score recorded there are no losers. There is biological evidence out there that too many rewards actually hurts us.  The technical term is the Partial Reinforcement Extinction Effect. A constantly rewarded kid becomes resilient to frustration and does not show much enthusiasm.  Just look at that kid!  

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Related imageWhat is wrong with the guys who play violent sports for a living who think they have a green light to beat up their women and then get away with it or at least their sports team employers look the other way? Last summer America was preoccupied with the NFL’s antics of Ray Rice who beat up his fiancĂ© in an elevator and left her on the floor and walked away for us all to see on elevator video cameras. It was shocking and it was brutal. Yet in MMA Mixed Marshal Arts there are far more violent acts of players assaulting their women to near death experiences and the brutality   barely gets reported. Why?
A man who legally changed his name to War Machine beat his ex-girlfriend nearly to death last summer. The girlfriend is adult film star Christy Mack who has audio of the attack as she tried to call 911 and hospital photos of how he brutally disfigured her from the beating. This type of behavior seems to be a pattern in the world of MMA. These two were seen everywhere as a happy couple. He had her name MACK tattooed on his neck and she had a tattoo on her that said property of war machine. Last August her screams were heard on the 911 call. War machine turned his MMA skills on her.
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She was a woman known for her beauty beaten beyond recognition. Even in boxing the top fighter Mike Tyson went to jail for his assault on a woman. America’s most violent sport of all MMA has seemed to escape scrutiny; Why? In February Tiago Silver was arrested for allegedly putting a gun in his estranged wife’s mouth. The charges were dropped when she fled the country. Just days later Kyacey Ice Cold Uscola was sentenced to 10 years for beating the mother of his child. In March Anthony   ”Rumble” Johnson was accused of battery by an ex-girlfriend. It is a claim that he denies but it is a claim made 3 times by 3 different women.

Then in August Josh Grispi was arrested twice in one week for alleged assaults on his wife.  Charges he too denies. Finally just three days after that, the Christy Mack assault that she says was the culmination of months of abuse. I want to know when the employer of these domestic violent abusers takes some responsibility for their guy’s bad behavior out of the spot light?  It is common knowledge that these guys take steroids. Steroids can make a guy more agitated and increase the sex drive. He even tweeted once that he raped Christy Mack and no one did anything in her defense. These men are experts in no bruising choke holds.

Related imageWar Machine is in jail now waiting for a trial. Christy suffered from her nose being broken in several places, her teeth shattered and her liver lacerated.  He is pleading not guilty to all charges including manslaughter and rape. Bellatore is the agency that hires these violent men for the MMA but offer little or no comment. They will terminate the contract after an arrest but why are these guys hired anyway?  When War Machine was signed to Bellatore in 2012 he was in jail serving time for felony assault. I guess these criminal types is who they want on their team. His signing from inside a Nevada prison was actually used as a promo tape.

His record at the time included t least 4 arrests including criminal assault and one of them was a conviction for domestic violence against a ring girl. I think MMA is just a venue for violence. Too many MMA fighters act outside the ring like they act inside the venue. The MMA owners should demand background checks of these violent men and should not hire them if they are offenders. The Domestic Violence Arrest Rate for MMA members is double the national rate. The MMA is only a way that aggressive fighting men can get paid for bad behavior.  The UFC have sponsors’ and a lot of money and they are supporting these fighters.  Something has to be done to protect the general public from these men.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

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We need laws to be the same in all states. We need to hold dating sites to be responsible for any false information posted there. Teens are meeting teens on line to date. What happens when the girl lies about her age and he suddenly becomes a sex offender? Now he can’t hang out with friends in public parks, can’t have a smart phone. Can’t have access to the internet all because he had sex with a girl who lied about her age. Should you ask to see her driver’s license before you date now?

Related imageIt happened to a kid in Saint Joseph Michigan. He is only 19 years old.  He was arrested after having sex with a girl he met on the dating site called Hot or Not.  Why isn’t the site being held responsible for not screening its members? The girl lied to him and told him she was 17. She was only 14 and if he knew that he would have never perused with the date.  The boy is Zach Anderson who is now a convicted sex offender.  She has since admitted to lying about her age but that somehow did not keep Zach from going to jail. The girl and her mother even said not to call them a victim. There is no victim here. She lied and willingly participated in having sex with Zach.

He spent 90 days in prison before his conviction without even being able to hug his parents’ goodbye. They handcuff you in front of the judge and haul you away.  Now he has probation for 5 years, must live by restricted rules and can’t live at home. Own a smart phone or use the Internet. He has a nightly curfew of 8:00 P.M. and he will be listed on the sex offender’s registry for the next 25 years. The punishment here does not fit the crime. The system is set up for a person to fail. The 14 year old girl should not have been able to register on the adult section of the site without any proof of age. The site should be held liable for any wrongdoing but since the sex was consensual anyway there should be no conviction either.

Related imageShe lives in Niles Michigan which is 20 miles over the state line from Elkhart Indianan where he lives. He picked her up and drove to a playground where they had sex. The girl’s mother called the police that night. 2 months later he was arrested. In the Berrien County Court House he pled guilty to 4 counts of criminal sexual conduct. Now that he is convicted he has to leave home because it is within 800 feet of a boat ramp just shy of the 1000 feet limit. Since he can’t use a computer his budding career in computer science is out. State Senator Rick Jones a republican from Michigan wrote the strict law and said he should have asked the girl for a driver’s license before having sex with her.  Really? Who does that? What is worse for Zack is that Michigan does not accept an automatic defense when someone lies about their age.

If he had sex 20 minutes away across the other state line, he wouldn’t have been charged at all. Congress needs to get off their ass and make laws uniform from state to state. 19 other states would have not charged him with anything. The law is designed to protect minors from predators. He was not a predator and was barely a minor himself just graduating from high school. He must appeal since he had no record and no criminal intent. It is all so outrageous. 

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Related imageDid you know that it was President Lincoln who started the Secret Service sadly on the day he was shot dead? Meanwhile there has been only one Secret Service man killed in the line of duty of protecting our Presidents. Their job is to be in the line of fire and to take a bullet for a President and some brave men did. The agency is under fire recently for one too many blundering embarrassing occasions of failure. Why do so many Republicans want to be President? The first debate was more like a roast than a meeting of political minds.  In 1981 it was Secret Serviceman Tim McCarthy who took a bullet to the chest designed for President Regan.

Related imageThe bullet hit his rib and went down to his liver. Thankfully no agent has taken a bullet for a President since. To this day Tim still regrets that one of the six shots aimed at the President got to him. He still feels a sense of failure. Most would call McCarthy a hero.  Recent events are just out right embarrassing. There was a guy who jumped over a fence last September, an Army veteran armed with a knife who managed to run across the White House lawn and even enter the unlocked front door to the building before caught.   Then there was the time an armed contractor with an arrest record was on an elevator with Obama in Atlanta.  Those were dangerously close calls.

The Secret Service was once a proud Agency but no longer is the case now. A few years ago some Agents invited prostitutes to the Hotel Caribe ahead of President Obama’s trip to Columbia. Just 7 months ago after a night of drinking, were seen disrupting an active bomb investigation. Mr. Cummings the House Committee person   who oversees the Secret Service admits much needs to be done to control the Agency. The image and reputation of the Agency has been tarnished.  If something happens to the most powerful leader in the world the Agency would be held responsible. Joseph P. Clancy is the new Director hired to clean up the Agency.

Related imageHe is a 27 year veteran agent who was once the head of President Obama’s protective detail. There should be a zero tolerance for failure with this group of men. He has ordered better training including practicing fence jumping for the Agents. There is a uniform division as well as attack dogs who train for weeks.  There are mock up practice things that look like Air Force One and the White House Helicopter. He has asked Congress for 8 Million dollars so he can build a replica   of The White House including fountains so they can train in.  They train now in a parking lot. History shows that most attacks happen outside the White House. In 1963 President Kennedy was shot killed in an open car motorcade.

Agent Clint Hill climbed over the back of the car and shielded his wife by laying on top of her. Assassination drills are necessary now during training. Although the Agency has problems, they have kept most of our Presidents safe over the past 150 years. They need to clean up their act real soon.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Related imageWe no longer live in the era of Teddy Roosevelt the proud big game hunting politician. Visit his home on Long Island and you will be shocked to see all the heads of any animal you can think of that he proudly shot and mounted on his walls. Back then it was a sport. Now people here in America as well as in Africa are horrified that a dentist killed a lion. We no longer have an abundance of animals to spare to jut kill for sport anymore but more than that, we live in the era where we have The Lion King story imbedded in our minds and we no longer want these majestic animals killed for no reason.
A Minnesota Dentist is being bombarded with threats and petitions and life being ruined because of his sport. He is being boycotted because he killed a famous lion in Africa. He claims his trophy of sport was legal but it is igniting protests over big game hunters in general. In Zimbabwe, Cecil the Lion was as famous as Simba. He was the star attraction of a national park. Doctor Walter Palmer paid $55,000 dollars for a license to hunt in Zimbabwe hiring local guides to help him. Authorities say Palmer and his guides illegally lured Cecil out of Hwange National Park where the lion was protected by tying a dead animal to the bumper of their car. Once outside, Palmer shot Cecil with a bow and arrow and injuring him. Then they stalked him for a day and finally beheaded him and skinned him.

Related imageNow the hunter is being hunted himself. The dentist is one of the most hated men on the Internet thanks to websites like Buzz Feed. Now his dental clinic is closed, his Facebook page suspended on Yelp there is nothing but hate for him. The doctor’s response is simply that he did not know he killed a famous lion.  Palmer has a conviction in the United States for poaching a black bear. According to Federal documents he was caught on two occasions of lying to Federal Game Wardens about where he killed it.  It is a crime that could have held a 5 year prison sentence.  Palmer plead guilty and got one-year probation.

The big game hunters of Roosevelt and Hemingway just do not translate well with most people these days. We are a generation brought up now to love Simba and Ashland from the Chronicles of Narnia.  Cecil was popular because of his unusual black mane.  He was a 13 year old male with cubs. He was popular because he was curious and interacted with the tourists. Johnny Rodrigues, the Chairman of the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force noticed that he was a special lion from all the others. Eva Shockey a professional hunter in America gets threats for what she does all the time.
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Lion conservationists speak out daily about stopping the poaching of lions because of the dwindling population. Dereck Joubert a Lion Conservationist says that killing the last 20,000 lions on the planet is dramatic. Not only did the dentist kill a famous and loved lion he essentially killed all his cubs too. Any new male taking over the area will likely kill all his cubs to make way for his own cubs. It is sad. If idiot human must shoot at things at least only offer tranquilizing bullets so live can go on.