Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day Thoughts

I am grateful to the courageous men and women whose commitment and sacrifice shaped and secured the Land of the Free and Home of the Brave.

From one American Child to another: Thank you and God Bless the USA

Today in American History

1848:  Mexico ratifies treaty giving the United States of America; New Mexico, California and parts of Nevada, Utah, Arizona and Colorado in return for $15 million

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Today in American History

1849: Abraham Lincoln "You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of people some of time, but you can't fool all of the people all of time"

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Communication is the key

How often does your boss communicate with you? I’m sure it’s weekly and more like daily (probably feels like constantly).

If you are a boss, how long do you let your employees go between status updates?

When was the last time that you wrote to any of your elected officials?
If the answer is dramatically different from what you answered above, then you are not doing your job. All elected officials work for you. You pay their wages through taxes; they are in office to act on your behalf and try to achieve the results you want.

Elections make the general population communicate with politicians. Even then, it is usually only a fraction of the electorate that participates in the process. Make your voice heard. If you don’t like the way things are going with your city, county, state or the country; let them know what you want. Conversely, if they are doing it right, tell them to keep up the good work. Everyone performs better when they know that they are headed in the right direction and doing the job well.

Politicians are not mind readers and left to their own accord they can wander very afield. Only you can put them on the straight and narrow path; one that returns us to a nation of laws; of principals; of integrity. Help secure our future as people who live in the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Your mission, should you decide to accept it … write a different elected official every week; email is a beautiful thing.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Take a Stand

Please take a minute today and communicate with your elected officials and encourage then to NOT renew the patriot act. Just because it may be easier to do things outside the constraints of the Constitution does not make it right, or even necessary.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Practice, Practice?

Action beats inaction; every time. The trick is to make the actions you take be both effective and efficient.

The likelihood of doing something perfectly, the first time out of the box is relatively small. Therefore the need to plan and practice are paramount to ultimately surviving and even thriving in the event that a disruption occurs.

Most people understand the concept of a map and how it helps you get from point A to point B. In this case the “map” is your plan. Having identified the most likely obstacles you can navigate through a variety of situations and still arrive at your ultimate destination; even if there are unexpected detours along the way.

Today in American History

1787  Constitutional convention opens at Philadelphia, George Washington presiding

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Side Notes

A lie that goes unchallenged becomes the truth!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Monday morning quarterbacking

The events of this past weekend in Joplin MO point out the importance of planning and preparation. Even those who were not immediately and directly affected by the actual tornado will see that their lives have been irreparably changed.

Proper planning prevents poor performance. It will be better for you, your family and work/business to get out ahead of the curve on this issue.

According to the experts, preparation is good; proper preparation is better.

A list of natural hazards follows:

 Floods; Thunderstorms w/ lightning; Tornados; Hurricanes; Snow/Ice storms; Extreme Cold & Heat; Earthquake; Landslides; Fire; Tsunamis; Volcanoes; Wildfires.

They should be arranged by risk exposure High, Moderate, Low or none. The frequency and severity of these events should also be weighed as a consideration of their respective rankings. Those that appear at the top of the list are the ones that should get priority treatment. The purpose for making these plans is primarily to get you and your family through the immediate threat and then some breathing room to make informed and appropriate decisions in the aftermath.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

The beginning is a good place to start.

Get informed about hazards and emergencies that may affect you and your family.

One of the best resources for getting organized and assisting with a full assessment is your local Emergency Management Operations Center. They generally have pamphlets and checklists that make excellent guides for the basic preparations.

Tioday in American History

1804: The Lewis and Clark Expedition begins

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Side Notes

Thank you to the LAPD West Valley. They take "to Serve and Protect" to a whole new level.

Day ZERO of "Things Your Burglar Won't tell You"

This is the final installment.

27. I love computer laptops – easy to carry and easy to sell! But I fear that you had enough gumption to install a locater program to locate your laptop like – LoJack for Laptops, or if you have an Apple computer, iPAD, iPHONE – Mobile Me!

28. I love homes that are not well lit! Or homes with overgrown bush and shrubbery so I can hide if someone walks or drives by. It allows me to hide!

Have adequate exterior lighting. A motion-sensitive light is recommended for backyards.

29. And when I get rid of what I have stolen – I know that hardly anyone keeps serial numbers or has engraved their ID on anything anymore. Keep a detailed inventory of your valuable possessions, including a description of the items, date of purchase and original value, and serial numbers, and keep a copy in a safe place away from home -- this is a good precaution in case of fires or other disasters. Make a photographic or video record of valuable objects, heirlooms and antiques. Your insurance company can provide assistance in making and keeping your inventory.

30. And I love neighborhoods where the neighbors do not talk to one another – they have no idea what’s going on!

31. Form a Neighborhood Watch Group. They can help you work with your neighbors to improve security and reduce risk of burglary.

Protection for you and your home:

Put your car keys beside your bed at night

Tell your spouse, your children, your neighbors, your parents, your Dr's office, the check-out girl at the market, everyone you run across. Put your car keys beside your bed at night.

If you hear a noise outside your home or someone trying to get in your house, just press the panic button for your car. The alarm will be set off, and the horn will continue to sound until either you turn it off or the car battery dies.

Next time you come home for the night and you start to put your keys away, think of this: It's a security alarm system that you probably already have and requires no installation. Test it. It will go off from most everywhere inside your house and will keep honking until your battery runs down or until you reset it with the button on the key fob chain. It works if you park in your driveway or garage. If your car alarm goes off when someone is trying to break into your house, odds are the burglar/rapist won't stick around. After a few seconds all the neighbors will be looking out their windows to see who is out there and sure enough the criminal won't want that.

And remember to carry your keys while walking to your car in a parking lot. The alarm can work the same way there. This is something that should really be shared with everyone. Maybe it could save a life or a sexual abuse crime.

ADDITIONAL INFO: For those of you who would like a copy of ALL the tips, please email: Sgt. Randy Hoffmaster at:
24792@LAPD.LACITY.ORG with YOUR e-mail address and a copy will be e-mailed to you.

Today in American History:

1921:  Congress sharply curbs immigration, setting a national quota system

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Today in American history:

1896:   The Supreme Court's decision on Plessy v. Ferguson upholds the "separate but equal" policy in the United States

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Epistemology or Houston, we have a knowledge problem.

We no longer know what we know.

Generally, two independent spheres (truths and beliefs) exist in a person, place or society. Where the two overlap is commonly considered to be knowledge. It accurately illustrates the balance between “what is” and what we “think” should be.

So what’s that got to do with not knowing what we know?

The overwhelming onslaught of information on a daily basis numbs the senses. One study says coffee is bad for you, the next states it’s good for you. Last year’s friends are this year’s enemies; so and so forth. This happens to almost everything in your life. Over time, the flip flop is almost as predictable as a pendulums swing. The most important piece of knowledge left out of the conversation is the source of the statement.

Belief now overrides truths to the point that the two may never meet.  An example: two scientists look at the same data and cone to exact opposite conclusions. It is appropriate and even probable for two or more observers to view the data and come to similar, but different conclusions. It is not possible to see 2+2=4 and conclude that it means -4 or some other number.

Instead of accepting an answer that is contradictory to their beliefs, they ignore the truths and state the conclusion as proof of their point of view. This is an example of: a theory that proves everything; proves nothing. The modern embodiment of this is Global Warming. Whatever the data showed, the only acceptable conclusion was … As a practical point, that premise was so flawed that it had the result of forcing a change in jargon resulting in a New and Improved answer Climate Change (one that is proved regardless of the facts).

The other well known example of this problem is parsing a fact into such a small, isolated and strictly defined word that one it no longer has context nor resembles the original premise and two is laughably indefensible or definable. This is the point where you get people stating “that depends on what the definition of “is” is.”

Question everything! Whatever the story; ask who, what, where, why and when. Specifically who is putting out the story; what are they trying to gain; why are they taking the position and very importantly why now as opposed to any other point in time; and finally, when did this become the new standard.

Unfortunately, common sense isn’t very common.

Use these as a guide:
If it looks too good to be true, it probably is.
If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.
Stick to your guns

Friday, May 13, 2011

Today in American History

1846  The United States declares war on Mexico after fighting has already begun.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Friday, May 6, 2011

News or Press Releases?

Most local news programs are 30 minutes in length and contain 8 minutes of commercials. This is how the time is broken:
Of the remaining 22 minutes left for actual content it will break down like this:
4 min: Traffic & Weather
4min: Parent channel self promotion: (think American Idol/DWTS coverage)
2 min: Sports
2 min: Human/local interest
1 min: Teasers
That leaves only 9 precious minutes to cover all the “news” and events from the corner to around the globe. Not a lot of time, especially when you consider that all stations seem to cover the same stories, the same way. The stories NOT being covered are far more important and telling then the pabulum being served up for mass consumption.
AP & UPI were the two largest wire services. UPI is virtually nonexistent since it was purchased and severely downsized in the early 2000’s. That leaves only one player in the game, never a good thing. TV, Newspaper, Radio, etc. have all dramatically reduced the investigative journalist’s on staff, while maintaining a relatively stable editorial/opinion based reporting.
One of the most telling symbols is this shift from fact to opinion is that now only reporters and talking heads are interviewed. There is almost never a direct “horse’s mouth” retelling of events. It is someone who spoke to someone who overheard something… I think you get it. That is all hear say and lacks credibility. Remember the recent scandals involving reporters/journalists who faked entire news stories, articles and even books?
The point is that in the limited time available it is impossible to cover all the things that happen in your town, county state and country. The stories are puff pieces that are delivered without respect to context or perspective. Whether politics, business or even crime, it seems that the stories are a never-ending stream of sound bites and “pressers” designed to deliver a very specific and highly crafted message.
Question everything. Why is this story being told, why now and what’s not being said?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Safety First

We tend to make decisions based on comfort and need. Live in a nice place, nice neighborhood; drive on safe routes, shop in safe areas; get the point. You’re the ultimate arbiter of what is “safe” so use and listen to your gut instincts.
Location is both a benefit and detriment. Your proximity to risks, known and unknown will determine how effective it will fill the role as “base of operations” in the event that there is a disruption of your normal daily activities.

How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It: Tactics, Techniques, and Technologies for Uncertain Times

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Side Notes

Still More Things Your Burglar Won't Tell You; Courtesy of the LAPD West Valley

21. To you, leaving that window open just a crack during the day is a way to let in a little fresh air. To me, it’s an invitation.

22. If you don't answer when I knock, I try the door. Occasionally, I hit the jackpot and walk right in.

23. If I am ambitious enough to invade your home while you are there – you may want to consider “answering” my door knock through the door – “Hello – who are you – no, I don’t want any – go away or I’ll call the police” And I will go away. So DO NOT OPEN IT! But if I hear your voice speaking with me – I will move on to another home that may let me in!

24. Maybe I will work with someone claiming to sell magazine subscriptions – I always know when someone is home or not – by knocking on the door!

25. I look to see if your trash cans are put out on trash day – or I’ll look to see if anyone has taken in the trash cans by nightfall – a dead giveaway that no one is home!

26. Those car keys you left in the ignition or on the hook in the garage – allows me to drive away from your house in luxury with your property – and your car.