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Administrative Law Judge
Corporate Training Specialist  MBA , JD

Associate Legal Counsel to Police Commissioner William Bratton

Sunday, May 3, 2015

I guess people around the world are still going to the movies. The new super hero movie boasted that they made $200 Million dollars in ticket sales before the movie even opened in America and now it is making about another $100 Million dollars a weekend. The Fast and Furious series of about 6 movies is still going fast in making an additional 2 or 3 Million dollars. Are people that bored or frustrated with their regimented life that they need to see fast passed destructive movies? Yes the good guys win in the end but both these movies are harsh.

Although these 2 movies seem to have won the jackpot as far as ticket sales go, overall, 2014 turned out to be the worst year for film attendance in almost 2 decades. People just aren’t buying movie tickets like they used to or are only buying tickets for big blockbuster action packed stuff for that ultimate experience. Tickets are expensive now. NETFLIX has thousands of films for just $8 dollars per month. You can see best picture nominees before the Oscars on I TUNES. There are video games and tablets, games on line, smartphones that keep us busy. Then there are the big HG TVs in our homes with surround systems and home theaters we could invest in. America is busy at home watching stuff so it is hard to convince us to leave our homes the give up lots of money to see just one film once. Actual movie theaters have to now compete for our attention.

So, how are they trying to enhance our cinematic experience? AMC has been investing in extra plush seats and dine in theaters. Must fat Americans eat constantly? Why have we gone from popcorn and a candy bar to eating main full course meals while watching a movie? As I look down to cut my steak I could be missing a good part of the movie. What should I do? Just press a button on your seat and your server will appear blocking another part of the movie so you can argue with them about something with the food.  Is that really a better movie experience? I leave the theater with steak sauce and all kinds of stuff stuck to my shirt I didn’t even know spilled on it in the dark theater. At least popcorn and candy residue was easy to shake off on a shirt.

You can’t even watch a movie with the distracting smells of Buffalo wings and other stuff around you. The aroma of food can be very distracting. Then the waiters bring you the check right during an important scene in the movie during the movie. They could care less about why you are there in the first place. I find it all super distracting.  But it is not as nearly as distracting as Disney’s new experiment. They have been suggesting that you download their app and bring your I Pads along to the movie theater. Then “you can become   part of the story.”  No. I do not want to be part of anything. I want to see the Little Mermaid and Cinderella do her thing.

For those of you who really want to feel part of the movie, there is now 4-D Theaters. They are already popular in other countries. They offer gusts of wind, splashes of water, fragrances, and gyrating seats,   all to immerse you even more into the movie experience. It will be hard to sleep through any movie with all this going on during a movie. Please do not serve me food too with all this action at my seat going on. I will need a shower before I leave the place with spaghetti in my hair from the wind or something splatted or shaken on me. It is a cool thing for a 15 minute theme park attraction but for a 2 to 3 hour movie, well it can be torture.

I guess I am just old. I go to the movies to cut off the distractions in my life and focus on just one thing. The movie in my darkness. I guess in today’s competitive entertainment landscape a chair in the dark is not enough anymore.  I guess the true different experience now is a packed theater. Where do you see movies? A survey said that 84% watch at home. Only 4% go to the theater and 10% said they are about equal.  Maybe I will forget the whole thing and just read a good book. Does anyone do that anymore?

Saturday, May 2, 2015

You want a baby? No problem. Let’s go buy one. Yes it is possible now in India. With the growing number of people getting married later in life. With women having to put off any thought of having a family because   it is so important to get a college degree to be able to get a good paying job in the future. There are more same sex couples now. People experiencing fertility issues and even just not wanting to carry your own child, there has been a demand for gestational surrogacy. But with a price tag of over $100,000 dollars,   many prospective parents are being forced to look elsewhere around the globe to find a cheaper option to have a child.

Sure there are orphanages all over the world full of abandoned children but they are not your child with your eyes or smile. Today the demand for surrogacy is so high that India actually legalized commercial surrogacy. Yes, the practice of having someone else’s baby has become a legal business. Yes, there is nothing sacred anymore. Even childbirth is a business. This makes it possible to purchase a baby over the Internet.  What does this new industry look like?  India is one of the poorest countries on earth with the most people. We are now outsourcing embryos. In Hyderabad, India the medical tourism business is now worth over $2 Billion dollars. Almost $500 Million dollars is made commercially by surrogacy. The billboards do not advertise food companies but pretty babies you can buy.

To accommodate this rapidly growing business, over 3,000 clinics have been created. One of them is the Kiran Infertility Center. There Dr. Samit Sekhar the Chief Embryologist explains the process. He says, “The surrogate mother never has a genetic link to the baby that is born. She is carrying the pregnancy. The egg will be from the genetic mother. The sperm will be from the genetic father. People like to call it a baby factory or a baby farm. Like it’s some sci-fi novel from the early 80’s where there is some mad scientist creating embryos and just churning out babies.” It sounds like this Doctor has some guilt about his work when in fact he can create as many babies as he wants too.

If the procedure is successful, 9 months later the parents arrive in India and pay for their baby and leave with it. Anand,, India is the surrogacy capitol of India. The most successful clinic in the country is Akanksha Infertility Clinic run by the Founder Dr. Nayna Patel.  Her business is growing so fast that she is in the process of building the largest fertility clinic in the world. Yes, literally a baby factory. It will completely ell mate  the need for any hospital. Americans go to places like these because the cost factor is 1/6th the price of having it done in America. Most of the births are done by C-Section so that the doctor can schedule births back to back. It is a factory after all, no time for labor or natural causes or delays. Time is money as in any assembly line. I think I want to barf now.

The turnover is about 10 minutes where the babies are whisked away to the parents. What draws the women to surrogacy? As usual money. There is no occupation for a woman for them to earn so much money in such a short time. Over the nine month period the make about $10,000. With carrying twins, $12,000. Before becoming a surrogate most young women did not have a job or income. Throughout the 9 months the women stay in dorm rooms with other surrogates. None of the women like or are proud of what they are doing but they realize that if they put their bodies through this, then they can afford a home of their own.  Dr. Ranana Kimari is the Director of Woman’s Rights at the Center for Social Research and tells us that the industry is not regulated without any kind of law. Most of the women who do this are from very poor backgrounds.  The doctors take no responsibility for any complications.  The health risks are not covered. The commercialization is based on an exploitative system.

The women leave all family for the 9 months and that is difficult for them and depression for carrying a baby they will never see is disturbing for them. Recruiters go into the slums to find women. Agents who find willing women take big commissions that the women don’t even know about. Sometimes as much as $3,000 per baby maker. Sigh! Most women can’t read the contracts they are signing and don’t even receive a copy of the contract. If she is duped or if something has gone wrong with the payment, there is no legal means to claim their fee meanwhile they will forever have the scar from the cesarean birth forever.  Yes, corruption exists. When will the United Nations address this issue?

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Sex. We all need it, think about it at times and are either satisfied or disgusted with ourselves afterwards. Years ago there were   Masters and Johnson who investigated all the questions about sex that people were afraid to ask. Today we have Dr. Oz who has become a bit if a snake oil salesman with his colleagues at Columbia University trashing some of his recommendation’s    for   various health topics. Or Dr. Drew that films and displays some of the most personal torments celebrities have in their personal lives. Or Dr. Phil who will judge just about anyone on topics he is no doctor professional. Somehow they all won the trust of the general public and make millions.

When TV was black and white and attitudes towards sex were too there was a book called Human Sexual Response that detonated more intrigue than the Shades of Grey book. It was all shocking in April, 1966. It was all about a physician and at that time his research assistant had been doing laboratory studies of people actually having sex that was eye opening. Dr. Bill Masters and Virginia Johnson   was deliberately cooling down a hot topic.  Thomas Maier wrote a Biography of the two. He noted that the two were proving that women had a greater capacity for sex than the male partners. They revealed that older people can enjoy sex. On the cable channel Showtime there is a series called Masters of Sex that shows in graphic detail how Gynecologist, Johnson began his research in 1954.

They were observing prostitutes in secrecy at Washington University in St. Lewis to see what happens to a woman during sex. Johnson was a mother of two without a college degree. Masters pressured her to have sex with him as part of their work. Today that would be called sexual harassment but in those days she did what he wanted to keep her job. In 1970 Masters divorced his wife of 29 years and almost immediately married Johnson but by then their names were famous. Like proctor and Gamble they became a brand with 5 published books. Sex and Human Loving, The Pleasure Bond, Masters of Sex, Black Masters and   The Passage of Power.

People thought Virginia Johnson deserved equal credit even though she did not have a college degree because she played a key role in designing the approach to sexual therapy that took off. They reported an 80% success rate for treating sexual therapy. Their therapy only took 2 weeks. They taught couples how to touch one another again. Literally how to communicate physically. Playboy’s Hugh Hefner helped bankroll their work as the national dialogue on sex became more candid and open.  It was all good until the publication of their book on Homosexuality in 1979 came out to speak. Masters was ridiculed for saying that if they wanted to a person could be converted from being a homosexual to become a heterosexual.

Then even after that controversial statement they decided to get a divorce in 1992 after 21 years of marriage. He left her for another woman. I guess they were mostly known for at least bringing the subject of science and sexuality together.  He died in 2001 and she died in 2013. Now their once famous names are already practically forgotten. Other guru names on relationships and sexuality have taken their places. Meanwhile we all still struggle with our personal views on sexuality in all shapes and sizes genders and forms.  Recently we have been flooded with the gender problems of the athlete and reality star,   Bruce Jenner. I could care less about him who wants to be her now, I got my own problems.  

Monday, April 27, 2015

We are nearing the end of April and hopefully most of you have already received your tax return check from the IRS. Yes, every year we voluntarily file a return by April 15, the designated deadline for returns. People hate giving up a portion of their hard earned money to support government programs but we do because in turn the programs are there to support us. This current tax season was a big problem for those with problems who might have needed help from the agency. It was reported that there were only 2 people working at IRS offices. Lines were around blocks of people waiting to consult with those 2 people.

No one waits in line for something they can fix themselves. Nationwide only 4 in 10 callers to the IRS free line got through to an agency worker.  Five million   telephone    calls   were disconnected because of a too long waiting period on phone lines. It all only created more hate for our Tax system. I blame every problem on our Republican special interest promoting Congress who has slashed funding to the IRS since 2010 when they won control over the chamber. The IRS funding has shrunk by nearly 20%. No one can lose 20% of what they are and be nearly as effective. Congress has slashed the budget largely out of anger.

It is a spanking from Congress because at one time the IRS was targeting religious and special interest groups when those groups applied for Tax Exempt status. Liberal groups were only 29 of the 298 applications. I say, what is wrong with investigating religious groups that don’t wish to pay any taxes?  The best thing to do in this case would be to get rid of certain people in high positions and require a fair assessment of applications. The worst thing to do is what Congress did. Revenge. Crippling a form of the government we need to survive as a nation. The very place where revenue is gained to even pay those bloated spoiled Congressmen.

Between 2010 and now the IRS lost over 13,000 employees. They have only 600 employees out of 25,000 who are under age 25. It is also an aging part of the government. Most employees there are over age 50. Not only are the people aging there their systems are outdated too. Almost all tax data exists on a magnetic tape and cartridge system. Yes beta max cartridges from the 1980’s developed in the 1960’s. We should fund the IRS not just to update their systems but because the IRS is better than most banks.  According to the Treasury Department every dollar used for tax enforcement yields $6 in collections. No bank will give you a return like that.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Let’s talk about travel. I am not talking about an exotic vacation to a remote beach resort in Mexico. I am talking about how cocaine travels to Europe and is a big business opportunity to the right type of criminal. There is a new and elaborate drug route. I do not recommend Caracas, Venezuela as your tropical destination because it is quickly becoming the narcotics state. It is now the most dangerous country in South America. Nearly 24,000 people were killed there in 2013 alone. There are guns to be had everywhere. A lot of the violence is due to drug trafficking. It is already the major hub for Columbian Cocaine to make its way from Columbia through   Venezuela   and to America and the Caribbean then on to   Europe.

 The soldiers there are called the Farc Guerrillas who are funded by cocaine money. The dealers are usually wanted by the United States and by Interpol. The 100% Columbian cocaine usually costs about $10,000 for a package of the powder about the size of a small construction brick. There you can find houses filled with these bricks. They pay the authorities good money to transport the cocaine. They don’t sit around snorting the powder. It is a business. The threat is to be killed so someone else can claim the cocaine and take money.  This sounds like a shoot em up movie but it is true and it is real.

Louis Millone a DEA Special Agent describes Venezuela as a command and control center. The government there is called the United Socialist Party. Hugo Carvaial is the former Head of Military Intelligence there and he was arrested in Aruba for involvement in drug traffic. He was picked by Nicolas Maduro the President of Venezuela. The oceans have mini barges that cross the ocean on ships and planes flying above are a constant. The traffickers have operated with Impunity. It is easy to get the bricks from the houses to the ships because they control all the streets and checkpoints. They trace the boat routes using GPS.   Each journey involved one ton of cocaine that is worth $25 million dollars in street cash.

Every two or three months a boat makes this kind of journey involving 20 to 30 suitcases.   The boats will arrive on the West African coasts.  Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ghana  or Togo are all good ports getting pounded with cocaine coming from South America. Africa is a great place to port because the governments there are weak and the people are so poor. Up to 60 tons make their way to Africa each year according to the DEA.  That represents only half the usage in Europe alone.  The cocaine then travels on land north across Africa. No one is stopped across the desert. In Agadez, Niger you will find the hub for the movement for drugs, oil and counterfeit medicine, weapons too.

The African desert there is about the size of Texas and all the cities surrounding it are corrupt. It is also now home to ISIS.  Now it is a marriage of convenience between drug dealers and ISIS to get that cocaine to Europe.   Hamas in Gaza, Hezbolah  in Lebanon, Boko Haran in Nigeria have all been funded by the cocaine trade. Most of the funding to successfully pull off the Madrid, Span attack came from drug trafficking.  Can the United Nations even scratch the surface of cleaning up all this corruption? After so many years of the so called war on drugs the Kofi Anzz  the former United Nations Secretary General suggests making all drugs legal. This all sounds so hopeless

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Catholic Churches are closing down and now being sold to the highest bidder since there is a shortage of Priests, attendance is down, and the price of pedophile lawsuits have gone up. Our Lady Of  Mount  Carmel and Good Council Church   in White Plains, New York are both being closed down both of which my wife was a church organist for many years.  All of this would have been unheard of years ago but yet it is also the   first time we have had two living Popes at the same time. What is going on with that religion? Since when does the Catholic Church run out of money that they even have to sell their real estate   some of which encompasses the most beautiful structures to our eyes? Actually the Vatican Bank is a fairly recent institution.

When we even mention the word Vatican you would think it goes back to the seventh century but in fact it only goes back to World War II. Do we need to go back to centuries old ways of finance control? Whatever that was? Here we have a 2,000 year old institution where they were really Pope Kings who ran their own empire. They used to have 15,000 square miles in Central Italy that was their Empire. They used to collect taxes. All of a sudden they lose that power and get reduced to a small piece of property now called Vatican City.

Look at the history. In 1870,   they are considered to be the largest religion in the world.  By 1929 Benito Mussolini, the Fascist Dictator hits an accord with them and declared them sovereignty by declaring them as an independent country. In turn, they supported him financially. So, when your parents and grandparents were giving money to the collection box they were really giving money to a political war machine, Mussolini. Now our Easter Collections are probably paying off some priest’s pedophile lawsuit.

So now the Vatican is a country the size of a postage stamp in comparison the square footage of most countries of the world. It turns out that Mussolini was giving the Vatican lots of money he was getting from taking over most of Europe during the War. They create the Vatican Bank that now holds about a Billion dollars to   make up   for the loss of the Papal state. In 1942 the British and Americans are looking to stop countries like the Vatican, these tiny little sovereign ants from doing business with the Nazis.  There is a bank that is a cross between a central bank and a Wall Street investment Bank that puts them off the radar and can’t be followed which was the start of the bank that exists now which is a scandal ridden place full of lawsuits.
They at that time was looking for a way out and lose some pressure for not speaking out against the Holocaust. Believe it or not but a lot of the big shot Nazis were Catholic. Perhaps if the Vatican had said something about the Holocaust, history would have been different.  It was a time in the 40;s when the Pope still carried that kingly  weight that Popes used to carry. If he has said that it is a mortal sin for Catholics to kill Jews, it would have been a different war. Of the 50 thousand Germans who administered the concentration camps, three quarters of them were Catholic. Could it be possible for religious people to do immoral things? It seems that real reform is needed everywhere.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Thank you scientists. Now we get to litigate and fight over children that aren’t even born yet and the laws are not clear on what to do but science is rapidly giving couples lots of options. A famous actress Sophia Vergara   is going through the very same problem that many couples are facing now in a battle with her ex-boyfriend over embryos they froze together.  Yes, for many now the ticking biological clock does not pressure women to have their babies. Now they freeze their eggs for a later time to raise a child. I call I convenient parenting but there is nothing convenient anymore when the couple splits apart.

Who gets to decide what happens to frozen embryos after a breakup? It is the newest type of custody battle but it is also a matter of life and death. Sophia’s ex-boyfriend Nick Loeb filed a complaint in a California   court to prevent their two frozen embryos from ever being destroyed.  He wants those kids to be born at any age with or without the mom involved. In November 2013, just 6 months before the couple broke up they used in vitro fertilization (IVF) to create embryos planning eventually to use a surrogate.  At the time both signed an agreement that the embryos should be destroyed in the event that either one or both died but now he wants them preserved at all cost.  Sophia has not agreed to that.

When you decide to have IVF with someone you are not married to there are lots of agreement papers to be signed. Most of the language in these contracts say that both of you have to agree. The reason the contracts are so detailed and specific are because it is all about life or death.  With more than 600,000 frozen embryos in the United States alone, advances in reproductive technology are outpacing the law and the courts are filling up with battles.

Another case is with Jacob Szafranski who is waiting on a ruling from the Illinois Court of Appeals after donating his sperm to create embryos with his now ex-girlfriend right after she was diagnosed with cancer. They broke up but she   still wants her only chance of having biological children.  The court ruled in her favor.  He is being forced to have a child and be a parent that he does not want to have and doesn’t want to be. Now all the ethical issues are blown up. Should you be forced to be a parent even if you don’t want to be anymore? According to one study about 4% of embryos are in limbo.  They are abandoned, or the patient died or the couple split. Usually the storage fees range from several hundred to a thousand dollars. Experts say an embryo can be viable for a decade or more. Even the happily married find themselves torn as to what to do with their unborn embryos.

A happy family decided to donate their unborn embryos to Alzheimer’s research, the disease a family member suffers from. All these situations raise complicated questions. Sophia may have the upper hand with her lawsuit with Nick.  The reality no matter how offensive considers the embryos as property.  When you sign up for IVF, the specific contracts lay out rules and terms of what happens to that property.  As the contracts say,, If they can’t agree then the embryos are considered abandoned. So, what should happen after a breakup? Who has the right to decide to keep or destroy an embryo?  Yes, it is a new era in parenting.  

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Do you earn enough money? Do you deserve the amount of money you earn? There will always be questions about money earned and money spent. It is the one area of life that is really unregulated except for the least amount wage earners starting pay. Can you put a price on a worker’s satisfaction? Well, the CEO of Gravity Payments took a massive pay cut so all his employees could earn $70,000 per year. Can money buy happiness?

Well now he is being called Boss of the Year. He is Dan Price the little known Seattle based company that manages credit card payments that has only 120 people on his staff. So, was this a publicity stunt? It looks like he is really concerned about his staff’s welfare. We have never heard of anything like this from the well liked, well known CEOs of famous corporations like Apple’s Tim Cooke, Starbucks Harold Schultz or Amazon’s Geoff  Protz. Do you think they will follow this guy? I doubt it.

Why did he give every employee a minimum salary of $70,000 dollars per year? He will be cutting his own million dollar salary to just $70 grand. He calls it a Capitalists solution to the problems of poverty. Here is a growing gap between the rich and the poor. Congress is the first to be blamed by always granting tax gaps and incentives to the rich and nothing to the poor. New Republican candidates are already talking about more cuts to the poor in this country for the next presidential election. Leigh Gallagher, the Assistant Managing Editor of Fortune Magazine agrees that finally we are starting to see the outrage with the protests in major cities demanding a $15 minimum wage from protesters.

American workers do not want to be on food stamps and welfare but the typical American family does not consist of 2 wage earners anymore. It is usually a Mom and her kids working a full time low wage job struggling to survive. The fathers are not even in the picture and if they are, it is a struggle to get child support payments out of them. Celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow has taken up the cause with her campaign to try to get by with only $29 dollars for food a week to raise awareness.  Income inequality is one of the greatest issues of our time.  While some states have raised the minimum wages guidelines from $7.25 per hour, there are still 14 states that have not changed.

The anger of the poor will be attacking the top one percenters of wealth soon.  If they do not find a way to keep their workers happy, they will soon have no workers and our system will collapse. Nick Hanauer a rich Venture Capitalist is one of the few sending a warning to his fellow rich guys to do something and do something soon. It is a catastrophe for not only American   families but for Democracy in general. The tide may be slowly turning for the general public. Last June the city of Seattle was the first to change their minimum wage to $15 per hour.  Companies like Wall Mart, Target and Gap and Costco have raised employees’ wages voluntarily and later this month,  McDonald’ said for its company owned stores, franchises excluded will raise it’s starting salary to $1 dollar above the local minimum wage and give the workers the ability to have approved time off.  

So, should CEO’s take personal responsibility for the pay gap? Well, Congress isn’t doing anything about it. So, yes, they should volunteer to have a happy workforce then they would be happy with them. Please don’t play that happy song again. Just do it. 

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Do you have a name for your car? My first car was called a piece of crap because that is what it was. Always broken that was a smelly mess that never moved. President Obama’s limo is called The Beast. Lady Gaga’s red Rolls Royce is named Bloody Mary and Beyonce’s Jaguar is called Honey Bee. Does your car have a name? These over the top famous people have over the top famous cars because they unlike my first car have unique expensive vehicles made exclusively   for them with whatever they desire in them.  No wonder they have affectionate names for where they rest their ass for a while to go somewhere else where they will be adored and beloved. It’s a wonderful life.  

It is the one thing that musicians and politicians have in common simply because they can both afford them. Tripped out high end spare no expense cars.  Musicians make lots of money from their successful careers and politicians make money from all the corporate donations they receive. Both are on the road a lot spreading their words through song or not.  Their cars are designed by the same guy. Scooby is the van dragging Hillary on a 1,000 mile trip currently from New York to Iowa on the first leg of the race to the White House. Aside from the name we don’t get to know much about her ride.

In Hollywood the famous are more likely to show off their custom rides. Howard Becker is the go to Guru of luxury high security vehicles made just for the rich and powerful.  He has created custom rides for just about everyone on the global A list from Snoop Dog to Ben Affleck, even the King of Morocco.  Vans and stretch SUV’s are now the ultimate in security and luxury.  The systems in the vehicles could run the United States equipped with communication devices. The seats can convert into beds or massage centers. His customers request are limited only by their imaginations. Everything from full media centers to custom made work out rooms. Some have bathrooms if requested.

Bruce Springsteen, Johnny   Depp and the late King of Pop Michael Jackson are among Howard’s elite customers. With the over the top amenities comes an over the top price tag. He uses Cadillac ESV Conversions that will start off at a modest $160,000 dollars. Then some of the real expensive projects can make the project go in upwards of $400,000 dollars with everything else included. Makes you want to forget about an apartment or house, just get a car and try to find me. Now I realize that famous people who travel for a living need to be comfortable but as in the case of most politico creatures, please don’t go talking about how you will be cutting Social Security as Chris Christy the Governor of New Jersey wants to do to cut costs from government spending while going around town in a pimped up mobile. 

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Surveillance has been around for a long time. Everyone wants to know what someone else is doing. Now in the case of increased terrorism at our front doors, people want even more but in order to know who the bad guys are, we must all be looked at.  After the 911 attacks, Americans said it is ok . Do whatever you need to do to get the bad guys and gave little or no opposition to whatever new agencies or laws that were passed. Her we are 15 years later and we are still numb and don’t even know much of how much surveillance there is going on out there about us.

It was called the Patriot Act in which on June 1st our government must come to a decision as to what to do with it. Certain provisions in that act are due to expire on June 1st. The most controversial part of the Patriot Act which is up for renewal is Section 215. Have I lost you already to boredom? This is important. The section says that the government can ask for any things as long as it is to be used for protection against an international terrorist attack. This broad statement has been interpreted by our government to mean that they can keep the phone records of every American. Does that instantly make us all spies that must be watched carefully? The majority of us do not have any connection to terrorism.

The government points out that they hold phone records but not the calls itself.  If they wanted to find out more it is easy with this information.  Then there comes a government worker, Eric Snoden who decides it is a good idea to give to the press lots of information of personal citizen’s records.  I think it is more incredible that a 29 year old worker was able to steal top secret documents from the  National Security Administration that literally has the word Security in its name. Did he help Americans by exposing how much we are being watched or is he just a stupid kid releasing stuff he shouldn’t have his hands on? Besides, most stupid Americans don’t even know who he is but they know that Bruce Jenner is going to have a sex change.

It has been 2 years later and most of us have even forgotten the content of what he leaked. People think he is the Wiki Leaks guy. That guy is Jullian  Assange. who is an Australian Publisher that started a website called Wiki Leaks that publishes secret information he gets from everywhere. He is not an American worker.  Eric Snoden is somewhere between wanting perfect security by expecting perfect privacy. Well, that is impossible.   Did Congress really want bulk collections of every American’s phone calls? They are too busy working on their tans and re-election campaigns to even know what they voted on. There has been only one terrorist plot averted through this Section 215 program that has everyone angry about. Meanwhile Eric ran to Moscow to avoid being sent to prison here.

We care about surveillance on our shores but Americans still say do what you want when it comes to international terrorism. Americans don’t even know where their information is or goes. It is a complicated situation and all I know is that we don’t need more Eric Snoden’s  releasing crap to the press making things even more complicated.

Monday, April 20, 2015

It is good news that there is one thing that unites people from all over the world. It is knowledge, it is education. President Obama’s greatest achievement with the Cuban people was to open the channels to the Internet   and allow the Cuban people to own computers. The terrorists in Africa and the Middle East are burning books and tearing women out of schools just for sexual purposes know that they are doing the most horrible thing to a person’s soul by taking education and knowledge away from a mind. It is obvious that those bullies have already lost their mind.

Over 200 times per second,   over a billion times per month, someone somewhere all over the globe clicks on   Wikipedia that is the fastest encyclopedia in the world. When it started 14 years ago the online encyclopedia was a novelty. It had a reputation for a hit or miss in terms of accuracy. Now it is one of the world’s busiest websites. Its reliability is now vastly improved but is still not quite perfect. What is more important is that it is a charity. Yes, a non-profit where there is a devoted army of un-paid authors collaborate. There are articles on everything you could imagine on the site. It is informative and quick and is helping to unite and educate the world in all languages.

The name wiki comes from the Hawaiian word meaning quick and pedia   is a reference to encyclopedia so the founder put them together to form his wacky Wikipedia name for the now massive site. Once a year the hardcore contributors get together in the most lancinating   group   of different kinds of people from all over the world and different languages to meet and great in a peaceful joining of thoughts and experiences. All respecting each other. The way all human beings should be everywhere.   They are all editors and they all are believers in Wikipedia’s power.  They argue about what is worthy of noting and what is unnecessary information. There are 12,000 new pages created every day. There is a grand total of 35Million articles in 288 different languages.

I love that none of it is influenced by any particular country or corporation. It is free thoughts from all over the world. Finally, a place that is truly respecting PEOPLE not owned by any special interest group or tied down by a religious belief. There are about 100,000 people from all over the world contributing thoughts and information to the site from all ages and all income barriers. Yes young and old rich or poor. I don’t think there is any other room anywhere that truly encompasses all in a peaceful dialogue about anything. More importantly anyone can contribute. . You or I can contribute right now if we wanted to.
All you have to do is click on the edit word underlined in brackets and type what you want to say. To be considered seriously, your information must have a   legitimate source and to some degree notability. Three times a second, 12 thousand times an hour, someone somewhere makes an edit. Although contributors are from all over the world in many languages, the site’s headquarters is in San Francisco with a staff of about 200 people.  Their goal is to focus on the accuracy and legitimacy of every contribution that comes in.  They have computer programs that search the site for evangelism and vulgarities striking them out almost instantly.

They admit that they can’t catch it all but it is their primary concern with contributory information. Most of the mistakes that lie on the site are in subjects that are not searched much. They seem to go under the radar for a while. Because it is a non-for profit, thereare no millionaires from the site.    

Saturday, April 18, 2015

There are a lot of changes lately as how and where you can listen to your favorite song. Jay Z is starting up his own pay to listen site and a while back even You Tube, the place that has always been known as the place you can get to see videos and music for free. Nope. Now You Tube has an ad-free music pay service. Hey, a least it is advertisement free. It is called Music Key and is starting as an invitation-only beta, accessible only by the heaviest watchers of the music videos. Sounds very elitists to me or could be a perk to their greatest followers. Meanwhile YouTube’s mobile apps got an update with new music features, and they’re free. Is there any standard in the music field at all anymore these days?

Within the app- the Number 3 most used smartphone app, according to comScore Media Metrix – there’s a new home   page for music and “millions” of new videos that hadn’t been seen on YouTube before, according to Google, which owns YouTube. YouTube has cut new deals with Sony, Warner and Universal Music, along with many independents. In addition to expanding the catalog, you’ll now be able to play full albums which I think is the best feature of all.

Yes, pop star Taylor Swift’s music is on YouTube, but only select tracks from her current smash hit 1989 are available. Should I pay for a service that only gives you their select stuff? Who   decides what I can hear anyway? And Why? The music industry is still all screwed up.  Swift famously yanked the new album from the Spotify streaming music service, saying she felt streaming new music cheapened its value. Only a rich arrogant super star as she has become would say something like that. There was a time in her career when she had hoped her music got any exposure anywhere. She must have forgotten those days already.

We need to go back to the old days. Whenever eight bars of anyone’s song is played anywhere, the artist who originally recorded the song and the writers should get paid something period and all this nonsense would stop. More music is listened to on YouTube than any other website, says James McQuivey, an analyst with Forrester Research. Kids come home from school, and instead of listening to the radio, now just click YouTube to hear the latest hits, he says. And I say without the option of being able to hear all the new music out, how will I even know what I want to be a “hit?”  But then again, when I was a kid, I liked to play the flip sides of the hit 45 records my Dad had because those songs were different.

Pop stars Rihanna, Justin Bieber, Katy Perry, Psy,  Shakria and One Direction dominate the most viewed YouTube charts, with views in the collective billions. I used to go to YouTube to see the unknown, the not so famous yet people. I guess the biggest wealthiest pop stars have the money to produce the most elaborate expensive videos. There is no such thing as a good singer out there. They now have to be beautiful, a dancer, great smile and put on a really great show besides having a good voice and an interesting song.

The pay service will be on tract to generate $1 Billion dollars yearly in revenues, and profits from $200 million to $300 million says McQuivey.  Who gets to keep all that money? People should support free radio more in my opinion.  What is worse for Taylor is that this service looks a lot like what Spotify offers with video. There is unlimited music that can be listened to on mobile devices {Android and iOS} in the foreground or background and desktop. Beta testers will get access to Key for free for 6 months, and then $7.99 a month under promotional pricing.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Love.  Who needs it who wants it? Is it really all that essential? We need a job an income. We need a place to live and then we should be done. Live your life in a healthy manner and you should be good to go for many years. Sounds simple and reasonable but no life is not simple or easy. There is hunger for a purpose in life, a sexual hunger and then depression, anxiety, wanting. All sorts of emotional wrecks that you can’t fix easilly or just return at a store for a newer one. What can be done to control our emotions?

Is it better to have loved and lost to have never loved at all? The poet Alfred Lord Tennyson wrote sometime in the mid 1800’s and we still don’t know the answer to that question either. Why must love be so satisfying but yet so complicated? What about love that has been lost but found again? Is that really possible? Is there hope? A famous example is the life of Diana Hanover who had a very public divorce from New York’s Mayor Giuliani   in 2001.  It wasn’t her first broken heart. In the 1960’s,   her high school boyfriend Ed Oster called it off in their freshman year at Stamford University. In the summer of 2002 as she was still angry over her divorce, Oster gave her a call out of the blue.
He was divorced too and told her he was going to be in town and asked her if she wanted to meet over coffee with him. They took a long walk in Central Park and he apologized for making her cry all those years ago.  A year later, they got married. He now calls her his lost treasure that he should have never let go way back then in college. His lost treasure never to be lost again. It is a great story but turns out to not be such an unusual story. According to a study by a California State University Professor, former sweethearts who later meet up in life and are single have a better than 70% chance of getting back together again for good. What is so powerful about love is that you never forget the person. The romantic love circuits can instantly be resurrected again.

Actress Carol Channing, the original actress of Hello Dolly fame said she loved a boy in her middle school class. She went on to become a famous actress and then 70 years later married the man at age 82 he passed away in 2011. Can true love give you longevity in life too? We always hear about the guys who die being a miserable bastard. When actor Fred Savage left his home town to star in the successful TV series The Wonder Years he left his little girl girlfriend. Eleven years later he returned home and married her. Can love really make an imprint on our brain? Seeing that person once again can trigger instant relived romantic feelings. Can the person you are looking for be as close as your high school yearbook? Or the person you have been talking to on line for years?

Facebook has a way of reuniting people from schools you could never find again even if you wanted to. The fear is always there that once you meet again, fall in love yet again that something will go wrong yet again. No one needs to feel foolish twice in a lifetime in the same relationship yet you never want to let them go again. Now patience, forgiveness, humility enter the equation. If you want to see raw emoting just sit in a airport waiting for your flight to arrive and view all the people who say good bye. Some casually with just a wave and then   there is the couple that clings to each other’s cloths in the final embrace for who knows how long.  You find your own eyes swelling up in tears for them and you don’t even know them. I think love can be sweeter the second time around. The question is how big is   full circle.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

It is a conversation that doesn’t seem to be over. Government figures show that women between the ages of 18-24 are the most likely targets of rape and sexual assault. Exact numbers are hard to come by since not all cases are reported but campus rape has become an all too frequent news story. I already wrote about the problem here in past blog posts recently. New legislations is why I am talking about it again. The White House addressed the problem with the It’s On Us. org   Movement.  In many cases as in on campus rape, it is up to the school to sort things out and figure how to deal with the problem.

Girls often remember saying no to the sexual advances and the boys continue on ignoring their pleas. The boys act like they are entitled to their advances. In the hours before the assault often they have both been drinking. There is no intimacy involved and if the girls were sober they feel that perhaps they could have had the energy to fight them off more. The boy’s response is usually to tell the girls in the aftermath to forget it and get over it.  Some girls go to the police and are promptly told that there is usually not enough evidence to proceed with charges.  Now schools are stepping up and finding the boys guilty of non-consensual sex and follow up with school suspensions.

It can take a month before the school actually takes action. The same Title 9 Rules that bans discrimination on the sports playing field also bans sexual harassment at school. New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand agrees that under Title 9 that colleges are responsible for maintaining a safe environment for the students. There are nearly 100 colleges under investigation for possible violations of Title 9 in the cases of rape and or sexual abuse. Now some schools who are not sure of liability are paying a victim a year of college tuition which could be about $33,000 dollars.  Is that an admission that the college mishandles cases?  What about the guy who rapes the victim? No mention of him?

Now some males are stepping up and saying the school unfairly convicted him of assault as in Boulder, Colorado.  An Attorney representing many male students from various colleges suggest that males shouldn’t ever be alone in a room with a girl to prevent accusations.  No one wants injustice on either side of the sexes but something has to be done in this he said she said problem. The Senator’s solution to this problem is to sponsor a bill that would require colleges to make it easier for victims to come forward and fine schools that didn’t comply.  She believes that the bill might even pass this year with this congress.  Maybe then students will have a little more faith in their schools.
Everyone agrees that this needs to stop.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Yes George Bush is finally gone and we can see it in the progress that has been made over the past 6 years without his personal religious belief influence. Genetic research is in full swing and has already done good things in the fields of justice, medical engineering and medicine. Every day someone across America is being let out of a prison serving life terms for crimes they did not commit due to the evidence of DNA testing being allowed in cases. The ability to eradicate such disease as Alzheimer’s and breast cancer is   now   a possibility   through gene mutation in the next generation.  Cancer research has been blown out of proportion in that medical professionals are trying all kinds of research to have tumors retreat without evasive surgeries.

They are now killing cancer in your brain. In previous years a courageous doctor would crack your skull and try to cut the tumor out or just give you a set time of expectancy to live. Now they are fighting the disease with other diseases. Quite a chess game but it is no game when you hear that now people can say that their brain cancer is in remission or gone without having their skull cracked open.  Doctors are awakening the power of the body’s   immune system. Duke University known for its great basketball coach and winning teams is also known for their medical research programs and for the past 10 months has been killing brain cancer.

Some of the patients there use words like miracle that doctors don’t use because they have a relentless brain cancer called Glioblastoma. Researchers are doing what many thought was crazy. They are infecting the tumors with Polio.  Yes, the very same virus that has crippled and killed many Americans for centuries. The Polio virus is injected into the brain into the tumor to paralyze the growth and save lives.  Finally the approach to treating what in the past was thought to be an incurable prospect us now something that can be attacked and shrink and disappear.

Image result for polip treatments in brain tumors at DukeThis past year half a teaspoon of Polio flowed directly into a tumor lodged in brain tissue.  When diagnosed with a brain tumor death can be swift since it can double in size every 2 weeks till it takes over your brain and you have no normal brain function.  One of the most serious and dangerous cancers is being dealt  with having some great results. People are lining up to be medical explorers simply because in the past they were given little hope for much of a future. The doctors use 3-D MRI scanning to plot their descent into the brain with the Polio. Like a snipers bullet, if it doesn’t go to the center, it will not kill its target that tumor.

There are only about 20 patients that have gone through this experiment with Polio Infusion but with the right dose, there is 100% success.  One dose in a 6-7 hour operation and the patient is done. No chemotherapy   or radiation or other treatments necessary with only one needle penetrated to the brain. Then they wait for a bit more of swelling of the tumor then watch the shrinkage as the polio attacks the tumor till it is GONE. The Deputy Director of the Brain Tumor Center is Dr. Henry Friedman who has been at this profession for 35 years and has never witnessed any treatment with greater results.

The Polio experiment was a gamble but a gamble that many desperate people were willing to try.  Why doesn’t the news reports report on this type of gambling rather than people losing their life’s savings in a smoke filled Casino?

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

I try to write every day because I think I have some worthy opinions to share. I call this The Other Serpico mostly because it is my name that I share with another Serpico who exposed corruption in the 1970’s in the N.Y.C. Police Department. I was also a cop and then moved on to become a Administrative Law Judge. It sounds fancy but   I did was basically night court. I presided over the parking violations bureau and handed out fines or dismissed tickets that citizens opposed. Not such an new president changing part of the law but yet important. Today I feel like what I am about to blah blah   about is an extension of a form of corruption or fleecing of America found in many states ongoing in America. Not as dramatic as what The Other Serpico did in the 70’s but important.

What I did as a Judge can be called presiding over Municipal Violations. It involved everyday ways of breaking the law like speeding or jay walking or not paying your parking tickets. We have all committed a Municipal Violation but congratulations if you have never gotten caught. For most people tickets are just annoying and you pay the fine but if you don’t have the money or just forget to pay the fine, tickets can literally ruin your life.  You can have some low level traffic tickets but if you do not start paying them off you will get all kinds of other fees put on top of them and then you can be arrested for non- compliance with the law.  Then you wonder how can I go to jail over a ticket?

Most tickets come with a fine. In Alabama a speeding ticket is $250 and if you only earn minimum wage there at $7.25 an hour it would take you   more than 35 hours of work to pay that off. No judge wants to put granny in jail for forgetting to pay or put a low wage earner in serious trouble to pay but it happens. In California they have a reasonable base fine but it can turn into something you can’t   afford.  The actual fine for running a stop sign there is $35 but by the time the state puts on 10 different surcharges or fees, the amount you owe jumps to $238 dollars.  Courts know that not everyone can pay their fine so they allow a payment plan.

Payment plans can turn out to be even more expensive. These charges effectively can penalize people solely for being poor.  In Illinois the state law authorizes charging individuals who fall behind in payments with a fee of 30% of the delinquent amount. Nine states charge defendants a fee for just entering into a payment plan that is $100 in New Orleans.  Yes, I just said that your payment plan starts with a payment plan fee.  This fleecing of Americans is widespread. At least 44 states charge people a fee to be on probation and many municipalities use these funds to provide services without raising taxes. So, the average citizen is fine with all this nonsense as long as the money is coming from some criminal type. Yes having that parking ticket makes you a criminal.

Ferguson, Missouri should also be known about how the cops have to treat all citizens there.  When the recent Department of Justice Report uncovered institutional racism they also stumbled upon   how one of the ways it manifested was in how the city uses fines as a cash machine. The report showed that the officers competed on who could write the most tickets and also found that police officer promotions depended upon citation revenue. Yes if you wrote a lot of tickets you were up for a promotion.  The Black Attorney General, Eric Holder quoted a specific case on National TV. In 2007, one woman received 2 parking tickets that together totaled $152.  To date she has paid $552 in fines and fees to the City of Ferguson. That markup is excessive.  Why doesn’t the Missouri Congressman get off their ass and address these issues for the citizen of the states they represent?

Using fines to fund a government of that region is rampart. Calverton Park is at the 66% level.  Should everyone there stay at home or be in fear of leaving their homes to get fined for something? When 66% of a place is funded by fines, you are actually hoping that the citizens break the law.  So folks start speeding or we will have to close the library. Do it for the kids. RIDICULOUS! In these situations the poor get hurt the worst. It is also a common practice to have people’s likenesses suspended. In Orange County, Florida, they made an event of showing all the licenses   they took away from folks.  In 2012 a staggering 88% of all suspended drivers licenses were taken from people that failed to comply with summons or fees not from reckless driving habits.  If you do loose your driver’s license it can affect your entire life since most people drive to work. If you can’t get to work you loose  your job and more problems evolve for all.

Lower income workers who found their license suspended were 66% of people in New Jersey and lost their jobs as a result which does not help anyone. You need them to pay their fine but you are taking away their means of paying it.  It is a self-defeating act. To make the situation worse, private companies are getting involved by consolidating all your debt and now you also owe the private company money too who take their money first and pay the tickets after they get their cut while waiting for you to give them pennies. SENTINEL Services are rich from this practice.

None of this even makes sense on a financial basis. Creating criminals of our citizens cost us jail time expenses. Is this the America we want? There is a Southern Poverty Law Center but they are swamped. Jack Long a Conservative Republican lawmaker thinks all this crap is just fine to   fine.  Yes our language spells all this the same too.  This is everyone’s problem.  Remember who you vote for in Congress.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Do you know what a Philatelist is? Well if you happen to have an 1860’s stamped envelope delivered by the Pony Express, worth about $50,000 dollars you are probably a Philatelist. A stamp collector. And that envelope is the oldest one known with a stamp on it on exhibit at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington D.C. I didn’t even know we had a stamp museum. Most kids I talk to don’t even know what a stamp is anymore they text and an envelope that has cursive writing is old people mail. Yes AOL “You got mail” changed the entire meaning for a new generation.

It is a geakey kid’s way to make money. Buying and selling stamps is a lost art but a way to make money if you can find the stamps. One of the greatest finds is from 1918 when the U.S. Postal Service issued a stamp in honor of the Jenny, a World War I era by-plane. The stamp was red and blue and they printed one sheet with the blue airplane upside down, those stamps now are worth millions of dollars.  In 2013 the U.S. Postal Service decided to commemorate its most famous mistake by purposely issuing its most famous mistake. Then they announced that they printed 100 stamps with the plane right side up. It was like a gifted   treasure to find for every stamp collector. One collector was so obsessed with getting the newly released rare stamp he spent $41,000 on sheets looking for one.

The 1963 film called    Charade starring Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn gave stamp collectors a thrill since the movie was all about a desperate search for a lost stamp.  A movie like this now would have to be a documentary for all our kids who know nothing about everything in my lifetime. Yes, I must be old now. There are still die hard collectors out there and some budding ones but it is clear that the hobby has lost a bit of its luster. It is to be expected. Even greeting cards have gone down in the mail. People now will send letters and well wishes for your birthday on Facebook or some other e-mail. Mail. Smail. Then you can have a stamp printer in your home or office that by-passes all stamps and just posts an amount it cost to send the thing.

The Postmaster General of the United States says that American stamps tell the story of the American experience. If you go back to the first postage stamps, George Washington and Ben Franklyn were proudly displayed like on our currency. Around the turn of the century commemorative stamps gained popularity and that is when you saw many different kinds of stamps paying tribute to historical events and now over time we have evolved to paying tribute to notable Americans like John Cultrane, even birds and flowers. The number one seller of all time was our boy Elvis Presley. When it went on sale, in 1993, crowds went wild. Elvis may be the king of stamps too.

The largest Philatelist has to be the king of stamp collectors, Billionaire, Bill Gross who funded the building of the Stamp Gallery at the Smithsonian. He made his Billions of dollars at the global investment firm Pimco in bond fund trading. He makes headlines in the Financial News just for changing jobs. He now works with Janus Capital Group. His relaxation is with stamp collecting. He sold many of his stamps and given the money to charity.  He has already spent more than one hundred million dollars on his hobby over the years.

His aim is to obtain one   original of every single stamp the U.S. put out in the 19th Century. He believes that there are about 350-400 different designs in total out there on someone’s old envelope or in an old drawer.   That includes a stamp from 1868. There were only 2 issued and he has one of them.  The turn on for a stamp collector is to have the one nobody else can find. Do your spring cleaning but save the stamps. They are probably worth something to someone.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Why can’t any American know the name of a famous engineer in this country? It seems our news is dominated now by whoever send in the clearest video of something. We are learning the names of every stupid thug who dares to test the patience of a cop and finds himself killed due to sensational videos. On the learn channel we learn nothing but stupid stories like the   family who has 20 kids. Do we really need to know about a couple who has sloppy sex all the time? No and No. We need to know more about smart inventors who do good things for our society in general and that is not boring.

For example, let’s look at the inventor of the Segway that is a personal transportation device created by an amazing inventor. It hasn’t revolutionized travel yet, however, he is on the right tract. He is inventor Dean Kaman and we should all know his name because he is a good man.  It didn’t help sales of the Segway when a news story got out that said in 2010” Owner of Segway Company Dies in Segway Accident”.  Well it is a completely false story since he is alive and well. The headline did hurt sales of the Segway. Yet there are millions of people World   Wide who are using the machine.

Giving us new cheap transportation is not his only gift to the world. He noticed that there are still hundreds of millions of people around the world that do not have access to clean water.  50% of all chronic human disease would go away, we would empty 50% of the hospital beds in the world if you just gave people clean water. When Dean Kamen sees a problem, he and his team based in New Hampshire work to solve it. So, he invented a thing called the Slingshot, a portable water purifier.  Any kind of water, water with pathogens, organics, in-organics, chrome, arsenic, feces anything can be purified in his machine. Why doesn’t the world know about his discovery? Why isn’t this kind of good news being blasted on the nightly news and all informational feeds?

There is a documentary out there called Slingshot that shows that Kamen has successfully set a small number of these devices in villages in Africa and Latin America. Instead of seeing small undernourished black children naked sitting in their own shit in the mud with flies going in and out of their mouths. You see children wearing clean clothes happily and freely walking up to faucets with clean cups drinking as much safe clean water as the   want all day long. Yes, a feature that most of us have and take for granted in our lives. I think Mr. Kamen   should be worshiped like a God here on earth just for this invention of his. Instead most people think he is dead or doesn’t even know who the hell he is.

The good water is created by using just a small amount of electricity. The Slingshot can also run on batteries or solar power or even methane from animal dung. Every camper should own one of these machines. The drawback is that each machine costs $100,000 a piece so it is too expensive for mostly anyone to have.  So instead of waiting for Congress to get off their asses to create a bond or program to be able to mass produce the machines and lowering the cost, he has talked to Coca-Cola and DEKA   looking for partners.  Coca-Cola has the capacity to put vending machines just about anywhere however, they probably would rather sell their sugary unhealthy cola product. As usual most commerce could care less about health but capitalize on wealth.

Dean Kamen holds more than 400 patented inventions and nobody knows his name. He realizes he has to make money. We all know that money gives you freedom, flexibility and the resources to do things. Royalties from his many inventions allows him to employ 500 engineers and   technicians   in   his company called DEKA Research.  At 63 years old he still has the ambition to try to create more. He is from Long Island, New York and at one time struggled at school due to Dyslexia. He loves to read old math and physics books. He was still in college when he designed the first wearable insulin pump for Diabetics and later the first Dialysis Machine.

In 1990 he began work on a wheelchair to put the disabled on a very able level. He calls it the I-Bot Robotic Chair. It puts you eye level with other people so no one is looking down at you. It is all about dignity. It took 15 years and more than $50 million dollars to mimic how we balance and manage to stay upright.  It can easily negotiate curves and even climb stairs.  Why doesn’t   every torso of a Veteran have one of these chairs? Congress will always give more weapons money out but rarely appropriate funds for our ever giving volunteer soldiers.

Veterans are still being offered a hook to replace a lost hand. Are we still pirates on ships being called Captain Hook? Nope, this Saint  Dean Kaman has developed a new arm for soldiers that looks like a hand, the wrist can rotate, the wrist can flex. It is called the Luke Arm named after Luke Skywalker in the Star Wars movie from 1980, The Empire Strikes Back where he tests out his new arm.  We all know that we can’t replace the magnificent limbs we are born with but he can eat with chopsticks, pick up a egg and not crack it, with his arm. The Veterans deserve this arm at whatever cost.

He is also in search of the next generation of scientists. We needs kids who want to be scientists and not be afraid of science. He started an organization called Firsts that formed 25 years ago to attract kids to science by offering them the opportunity to compete robots of their own design.  The competition makes science cool. The average kid can tell you the name of sports players but no names of scientists. To date more than a million kids have competed in Firsts Competitions from more than 80 countries. Let’s give exposure to these countries uniting in peace   every night on the news instead to making criminals and thugs famous. Use our heads for good instead of chopping our heads off with knives.

The saddest part of this story is that Dean Kaman never marries or had children of his own. He sees the budding scientists in his competitions as his legacy. He is proud to pass on to them not only his passion of technology but his focus to give more than he takes in life. If it was up to me I would have him rub one out every day and serve his seed to impregnate all smart women who froze their eggs getting their education. We need more smart giving good people in this world and put all their descendants on The Learning Channel as a decent reality show. Sigh!