Sunday, February 10, 2019

Could We Change the World by Changing How We Farm?




Our food supply requirements and agricultural land uses are major contributors to our world's ills.

The answer to keeping our food supply safe, our environment pristine, and our farmers disease free isn't an impossible equation. 

Part of the answer is in our genes, as we peel back the layers of time and understand how mankind stayed healthy before the agricultural revolution, and part of the answer is in nature, as we see forests and other natural systems provide a nurturing ecosystem that grow plants without external inputs.

Interested in learning?

Read through my draft research proposal on medium.com: Agroforestry: Ethically Securing Our Food Supply For Today and Tomorrow.  



Tuesday, January 15, 2019

A historical and theological examination of Christmas as a tradition: is it pagan or Christian?


SHOULD CHRISTIANS NOT CELEBRATE CHRISTMAS BECAUSE IT'S OF PAGAN ORIGIN OR SHOULD THEY CELEBRATE IT BECAUSE IT IS OF CHRISTIAN ORIGIN THAT CELEBRATES THE BIRTH OF CHRIST?

By Dr. Diego D. Sausa, DPT, MA (Theology)

Was the Christmas date December 25 copied from the pagans and therefore Christmas is a pagan original? Is it true, as commonly proffered around by many Christians, that Christ was not possibly born in December because shepherds in Bethlehem could not have possibly watched their flock out in the open fields in the winter time if Christ was born in December?
_____________________________________________
A Historical and Theological Examination of the Christian Christmas Celebration
There are some Christians who believe that Bible-believing Christians should not celebrate Christmas because of its pagan origin. Many others insist that we should celebrate Christmas because it commemorates the incarnation or the birth of Christ. Which one is correct? The truth is, there is no primary historical evidence that the celebration of Christmas on December 25 is of pagan origin, likewise, there is no biblical mandate that we should or we should not celebrate the birth or the incarnation of Christ. Hence, any which position one holds, he cannot be dogmatic or be a fanatic about celebrating or not celebrating Christmas. If one's conscience tells him or her that he or she should or should not, it's up to him or to her, either way, he or she does not violate any biblical mandate or biblical principle.
ORIGIN OF THE WORD "CHRISTMAS"
The word "Christmas" is derived from the archaic English word "Christmesse" which means "Christ's Mass." The term was coined during the Middle Ages which referred to the mass held in the middle of the night on December 25th to celebrate the birth of Christ. In Latin it is called "Natalis" or "Nativity," in German it is called "Weihnachten" which means "Holy Nights." These terminologies, however, came much later in the Middle Ages.
COMMON FALSEHOOD: DECEMBER 25 CELEBRATION ORIGINATES FROM THE PAGANS
The popularly known first recorded celebration of Christ's Incarnation or birth on December 25 was the date AD 336. But what is not known to many, is that primary patristic historical accounts predate AD 336 by almost 200 years. The celebration on the date December 25, was based on earlier patristic estimation (no exact biblical or historical data) that the Anunciation (the angel's announcement to Mary that she would conceive the Messiah) happened on March 25, hence, nine months later, that is, on December 25, must have been the birth of Christ. In other words, celebration of Christ's birth by Christians was established way before AD 336.
Primary historical evidence coming from patristic writings during the era when December 25 began to be celebrated as the birth of Christ shows that, in fact, the Christian celebration of the birth of Christ on December 25 was a Christian original. In his work "Chronographiai" dated in AD 221, which predates Emperor Aurelian's decree to celebrate December 25 as a pagan festival by more than half a century, the Christian traveller writer-historian, Sextus Julius Africanus, indicated that the Incarnation of Christ by way of Mary's virgin conception was on March 25 and, hence, it follows that nine months after that, it is calculated that Christ's birth was on December 25 (Iulius Africanus, Sextus. Chronographiae, AD 221, Tractate 92, Martin Wallraff, ed., Walter de Gruyter GmBH & Co. GK, Berlin, 2007, p. 274).
But this is not the only primary patristic evidence, because the church Father Hippolytus who lived from AD 170 to AD 235, and who had a direct link to the last surviving apostle of Christ, John the Beloved Apostle, the author of the book of Revelation and the Gospel of John and the three epistles that bear his name (because Hippolytus was a disciple of Ireneus, who was a disciple of Polycarp, who was a disciple of John the apostle), declared that the birth of Christ was on December 25. Hippolytus writes in AD 204 in his "Commentary on Daniel" (which was 70 years before Emperor Aurelian decreed in AD 274 that December 25 was the feast of Sol Invictus):
“For the first appearance of our Lord, in the flesh, in which he was born in Bethlehem, took place eight days before the Kalends of January [December 25], on a Wednesday, while Augustus was reigning in his forty-second year, and from Adam, five thousand and five hundred years. He suffered in his thirty-third year, eight days before the Kalends of April [March 25], on a Friday, in the eighteenth year of Tiberius Caesar, while Fufius and Rubellius were Consuls” (Hippolytus, “Commentary on Daniel," IV.23.3, AD 204, translated by T.C. Schmidt from chronicon.net).
Another earlier primary patristic historical account is by Church Father Theophilus, Bishop of Caesarea (A.D. 115-181) - who lived even earlier than Hippolytus during the time of Emperor Commodus and within 17 years of the last apostle, and was bishop of Caesarea in Palestine, already testified that Christians celebrated Christ's birth on December 25, he says,
We ought to celebrate the birth-day of our Lord on what day soever the 25th of December shall happen" (Magdeburgenses, Cent. 2. c. 6. Hospinian, de orign Festorum Chirstianorum).
So in the Christian world, that is, during the post-apostolic catholic Christian era ("catholic" with a small "c" meaning when Christianity was universal when all post-apostolic Christian churches in the East and in the West including churches in Asia Minor were considered universally equals) before the era of centralized world dominance of the Roman Catholic Church by virtue of the decree by the pagan Roman Emperor Justinian in AD 508, December 25 was already observed by Christians for three centuries as a celebration of the birth of Christ. It was a tradition established by the patristic Christian community to commemorate the Advent of our Lord as a Man to save the world.
Celebration of Christmas on December 25 by Christians was therefore a Christian original and not a pagan copycat as floated around hundreds of years later mostly by critical scholars and non-believers in the 1600s to the 1800s. The idea that Christians copied from the pagans is, therefore, falsehood, and is a myth. It is the other way around, the pagans copied from the Christians.
FICTION: CHRIST COULD NOT POSSIBLY HAVE BEEN BORN IN DECEMBER BECAUSE THE SHEPHERDS WERE OUT WATCHING THEIR SHEEP AT NIGHT
It should be emphasized though that although the early post-apostolic Christians were the ones who originally came up with the date December 25 through their own calculations as the birth date of Christ, biblically speaking, there is no proof for it because the Bible is silent about the birth date of Christ. But was it possible that Christ was really born in December when it was winter in Israel? Luke says that shepherds were out watching their flock that night when Christ was born (Luke 2:8) which seems to suggest that Christ was born either in the spring, summer or fall. If it was really winter in Palestine when Christ was born in Bethlehem, how could shepherds be out there that night watching their flocks?
Many Christians and scholars proffer the traditional belief that Christ could not possibly have been born in December because it was not possible that shepherds would be watching their flocks at night during winter time in Israel. But how true is this assumption? The truth is, winters around Jerusalem and Bethlehem (only 5 miles away from Jerusalem) could be between 45 to 59 degrees F, and if it was a mild winter it was possible that sheep were out in the fields grazing with their shepherds watching them (Kenneth Frank Doig, "New Testament Chronology," Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen Press, 1990, chap. 9).
My family and I have been to Bethlehem a few years ago, it is now inhabited by the Palestinians separated by a great wall from Jerusalem which is only about 5 miles west of Bethlehem. The town is a hilly town. Even today, there are still sheep and shepherds in the area. Winters in Bethlehem and Jerusalem are like winters in Florida, they have mild winters with average temperatures in the mid-40s F to 50s F. So shepherds watching their flock in the winter in Bethlehem was not an impossibility. In fact even today, shepherds still watch their sheep at night in Bethlehem on Christmas eve.
In the time of Jesus, during normal weather, that is, summer and fall, shepherds would graze their sheep during daytime and gather them inside the stone-fenced fold at night. Christ's parable about thieves climbing the fence of the sheep's fold at night (John 10:1) and about the Good Shepherd who took all his sheep to the fold but leaves "the ninety-nine" in the fold to seek for the lost one sheep by the end of the day (Luke 15:1-7) were real-life scenarios in Palestine during His time.
Shepherds would enfold their sheep by the end of the day in the summer or fall because grass was abundant in the nearby open pasturage. But during the winter or spring time when it was cooler, the grass in the valleys of Bethlehem would be depleted and gone, so shepherds would go farther uplands away for miles to the hills of Bethlehem where grass still thrived and was still untouched and since it was too far for shepherds to enfold their sheep back in their folds in the little town of Bethlehem by the end of the day, they would stay overnight in the uplands to watch their flock from predators.
What this topographical and historical data tell us is, it was not normal for shepherds to be out in the open fields watching their flocks in the summer or in the fall because they kept their flocks inside their folds by the end of the day. So Christ could not possibly have been born in the summer or fall because shepherds could not possibly have been watching their flocks at night because they would enfold their sheep by the end of the day during these seasons in Bethlehem.
Luke's account of the shepherds watching their flock at night, therefore, fits the winter scenario in Bethlehem more than the summer or autumn scenario. Canon H. B. Tristram (died in 1906) who frequented Palestine, in his work "Picturesque Palestine," wrote as follows (Vol. I, page 124):
"A little knoll of olive trees surrounding a group of ruins marks the traditional site of the angels' appearance to the shepherds, Migdol Eder, 'the tower of the flock'. But the place where the first 'Gloria in excelsis' was sung was probably further east, where the bare hills of the wilderness begin, and a large tract is claimed by the Bethlehemites as a common pasturage. Here the sheep would be too far off to be led into the town at night; and exposed to the attacks of wild beasts from the eastern ravines, where the wolf and the jackal still prowl, and where of old the yet more formidable lion and bear had their covert, they needed the shepherds' watchful care during the winter and spring months, when alone pasturage is to be found on these bleak uplands."
The Bible does not specify that December 25 was the birth date of Jesus, but Jesus' birth in December with shepherds out watching their sheep at night was more real of a scenario than shepherds watching their sheep at night in the summer or fall because during those times, they enfolded their sheep at night. Which means that, basing on Luke's account that shepherds were out watching their sheep at night during the birth of Jesus, and based on understanding the topographical, geographical and cultural milieu in Bethlehem in Jesus' time, the December birth of Christ in Bethlehem scenario was more probable than not. The estimation of the early Christian Fathers that Christ was born in December was therefore more of a possibility than an impossibility.
But coming up with an exact date for Christ's birth is biblically untenable because the Bible is simply silent about Christ's birth date although it was possible that Christ was born in December basing on the cultural, topographical and geographical environment in Bethlehem in Jesus' time.
FALSEHOOD: ALL TRADITIONS ARE BAD
Many man-made traditions are bad, but, likewise many man-made traditions are also good. Every culture has good and bad traditions. Celebrating birthdays, for example, is a tradition that may be viewed as good or bad but many Christians celebrate birthdays. Scripture is simply silent about celebrating birthdays. It does not violate any biblical principle or mandate. In Afghanistan, tribes have very strong culture that when a stranger who needs help comes to their house or community, it is the obligation of the people not only to help, and feed that stranger, but likewise, it is their duty to protect him from any possible harm while he is in their custody. They would be willing to die trying to protect that stranger. Of course there are also bad heathen traditions. But the point is, there are good traditions.
In the Philippines, for example, younger siblings or younger folks cannot call their older siblings, their parents-in-laws or their older folks by their first names, or address a female "woman," because that would be very disrespectful and insulting. There has to be a respect word like "po," or "kuya" or "manong" or in the case of the parents-in-laws, they have to be called "Ma" (Mom) or "Pa" (Dad). In Christ's time, calling a mother or a female person "woman" was a sign of utmost respect.
In the United States, Americans call their older siblings and their parents-in-laws by their first names, a practice that is tantamount to insult and "blasphemy" in the Philippines. So there are good and bad traditions in every culture and a tradition that is bad in one culture may actually be good in another. The Christian tradition of celebrating the birth or Incarnation of Christ is a good tradition because it celebrates the arrival and incarnation of the God of the universe on this earth to save humanity. It was the greatest act of God for the entire humankind that changed the course of man's ultimate destiny which made it possible for mankind to be saved from his default eternal death penalty and to live with God blissfully eternally.
Scripture does not prohibit or command the celebration of the birth or Incarnation of Christ. So whether one celebrates Christmas or not, is entirely up to him or her, either way, it is amoral, i.e., there is no biblical divine moral commandment or principle that's violated.
God Himself Adapted to A Pagan Tradition Without Syncretizing
It is noteworthy that God Himself adapted to the pagan tradition of "covenant" (berith) as based on the Ancient Neareast Suzerain-Vassal covenant culture when He established His covenant with Israel. God contextualized His truth to Israel by adapting to a pagan tradition that was familiar to the Israelites. So not all pagan traditions are bad, and God does not prohibit something just because the origin of the tradition is pagan, He adapted to it Himself to communicate truth. Technically, this act of God of adapting to human culture is called contextualization or contemporization. His contextualization, however, did not result in syncretization, that is, it did not result in adapting to the evil and false practices of the pagans, instead, God communicated His truth by using a pagan tradition.
So Scripture does not prohibit a practice or tradition just because the origin is pagan. If there is no divine moral commandment to celebrate or not celebrate Christmas, hence the practice is amoral, and our only reason to oppose it is because of its pagan origin, then we should probably start banning microphones in churches, cars, church building materials, food products, birthdays, etc. because they originated from the pagan countries. It is an indefensible slippery slope that we are undertaking in the absence of a divine moral command.
In fact, the Filipino word "Dios" is a Spanish word that is likewise of pagan origin, it comes from the Greek word Zeus who was the pagan main god of the Greeks (see Acts 14:13 where the anglicized name of the god "Zeus" comes from the original Greek word "Dios"). This does not mean though that we should stop calling God "Dios" in Filipino or in Spanish just because the word has pagan origin. If that is the case, then we should start changing Scripture because one of the most common names by which God is being called, 'Elohim, is also the name of the pagan gods (see Exodus 20:3 where the word "gods" is also 'Elohim in Hebrew which refers to the pagan gods).
FALSEHOOD: CHRISTMAS WAS BASED FROM PAGAN FESTIVALS CALLED SATURNALIA AND SOL INVICTUS
Some people proffer the idea that Christians should not celebrate Christmas because it is of pagan origin. It is advanced that December 25 was based on the pagan festival called Saturnalia which was accompanied by too much partying and merry-making. However, that pagan festival ran from December 17-23, not December 25. So the idea is blatantly false.
Likewise, it was also suggested that December 25 was based on the pagan festival of the Roman sun cult that celebrated the rebirth of the Invincible Sun (Latin, "Sol Invictus"). The historical link between the Christian celebration of Christ's Incarnation on December 25 and the pagan Roman celebration of the rebirth of Sol Invictus, however, is absent.
There simply is no direct evidence that shows that Christians copied the dating from the pagan Romans. In fact, as we have already shown above, the primary historical patristic evidence points to the contrary, the pagan Roman Emperor Aurelian who in AD 274 instituted the festivity of Sol Invictus on the same date, December 25, did so to compete with the already extant and popular Christian celebration of the birth of Christ on December 25 because the original festivity of Sol Invictus prior to Emperor Aurelian's decree in AD 274 was actually on August 9 and on August 28. It is obvious, therefore, that Aurelian changed the date to December 25 to copy the Christian celebration of the birth of Christ on December 25. So it was not the Christians that copied from the Pagans, it was the Pagans that copied from the Christians.
Already in AD 115-181, Church Father Theophilus, Bishop of Caesarea who lived in the time of Emperor Commodus and within 17 years of the last apostle, and was bishop of Caesarea in Palestine, already testified that Christians celebrated Christ's birth on December 25 (Magdeburgenses, Cent. 2. c. 6. Hospinian, de orign Festorum Chirstianorum).
The primary patristic historical evidence therefore establishes the historical fact that the celebration of Christ's birth on December 25 was a Christian original and was not copied from the pagan festivity of Sol Invictus nor from the pagan Saturnalia festivities.
FALSEHOOD: CHRISTMAS OBSERVANCE AND SUNDAY OBSERVANCE ARE RELATED
Some people also conflate the Christian Christmas celebration with Sunday-keeping. However, Christmas celebration cannot be conflated with the act of the early Christians of changing the Sabbath day to Sunday as God's holy day because the latter was an act that violated and replaced God's apodictic (universal, timeless, unchangeable) Sabbath commandment (God, Christ, the New Testament Christians kept the Sabbath, and in the new heavens and the new earth, the saints will keep the Sabbath, see Genesis 2:1-3; Luke 4:16; Acts 17:2; Hebrews 4:9-11; Isaiah 66:22-23).
On the other hand, Christmas celebration does not replace nor violate any of God's commandments. So we cannot associate observing Sunday with celebrating Christmas, they are entirely two different issues and such line of thinking is a non-sequitur, because there is no divine moral commandment against or for celebrating Christmas, while on the other hand, there is an unchanging moral divine command to keep the seventh day Sabbath holy and not Sunday, hence, worshiping on Sunday instead of on the Sabbath day is a blatant violation of God's 4th commandment which says, "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God....For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath and hollowed it" (Exodus 20:8,11, NKJV).
God's Sabbath commandment therefore is immutable and unchangeable. It remains for God's people long after the cross (Hebrews 4:9-11) and will continue in the new heavens and the new earth for eternity (Isaiah 66:22-23).
Some argue that the cross abolished the Sabbath day, but long after the cross, Paul and the New Testament Christians kept the Sabbath day (Acts 17:2) and the book of Hebrews, written long after the cross, tells us that the seventh day Sabbath remains for God's people, Paul says, "There remains therefore a seventh day Sabbath keeping[Greek, sabbatismos, literally "seventh day Sabbath keeping"] for the people of God. For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His" (Hebrews 4:9-10, literal translation).
In the new heavens and the new earth, when sin, death, pain and evil are all obliterated and long gone, all the saved mankind will be Sabbath-keepers for eternity, YHWH Himself says it, "'For as the new heavens and the new earth which I will make shall remain before Me,' says YHWH, 'So shall your descendants and your name remain. And it shall come to pass that from one New Moon to another, and from one Sabbath to another, all flesh [i.e., all of the saved mankind] shall come to worship before Me,' says YHWH" (Isaiah 66:22-23).
Christmas and Sunday-keeping are, therefore, entirely two different issues because while there is an eternal divine commandment to keep the Sabbath holy and not Sunday, on the other hand, there is no divine commandment expressed or implied in Scripture that tells us to celebrate or not to celebrate Christ's birth.
CONCLUSION
Copying good traditions that are of pagan origin is not prohibited by God, even God copied a pagan tradition to communicate His covenant with His people. Basing on the topographical, cultural, and geographical environment in Bethlehem during Jesus' time, Christ being born in the summer or fall was unlikely. The likelihood that Christ was born in December is actually high basing on the same cultural and meteorological milieu in Bethlehem during the time of Christ.
There is no direct or primary historical evidence that shows that the Christian tradition of celebrating the Incarnation or birth of Christ on December 25, was taken from the pagans.
On the contrary, patristic primary historical evidence written before any record of pagans celebrated festivities on December 25, shows that it was the pagan Roman Emperor Aurelian who copied the Christian festivity of the Nativity when he declared in AD 274 that the date of the festivity of Sol Invictus would be changed from August 9 and August 28 to December 25 to compete with the Christian festivity of the Nativity which was already extant more than half a century earlier. The celebration of Christmas on December 25, therefore, is a Christian original. Christians did not copy from the pagans, it's the other way around, it was the pagans who copied the dating of December 25 from the Christians.
Likewise the argument that celebration of Christmas is like observing Sunday as a day of rest instead of the Sabbath is a non-sequitur argument. There is no divine moral command against or for celebrating the birth of Christ, in contradistinction, there is an apodictic (timeless, universal, unchangeable) divine moral command to keep the seventh day Sabbath holy, not Sunday. So the two issues are mutually exclusive, there is no moral parallel between them.
Finally, whether one celebrates or does not celebrate God the Son's birth on December 25 or any other date, is amoral, there is no such thing as divine moral law for or against such celebration. So there is no reason for anyone who is either for or against Christmas celebration, to be dogmatic or be a fanatic about the issue. For all you know, you may find out after examining the primary evidence, that you are wrong in your assumption that the Christians copied the Christmas celebration from the pagans or that Christ was not born in December. In reality, it's the other way around, primary patristic historical evidence shows that the pagans copied December 25 from the Christians and basing on the cultural, topographical, meteorological and geographical milieu in Bethlehem during the first Advent of Christ, the likelihood that Christ was born in December is very high.
Christmas is just around the corner, if you celebrate the coming of God to this world to be one with us as a human being to live an absolutely perfect life as a Man in our behalf, and to vicariously die our eternal death penalty for our sins so that by faith in Him mankind may have eternal life, go ahead, celebrate it! It is the most wonderful thing that ever happened in man's universe and history that changed the ultimate destiny of mankind from eternal death to eternal life with God because of the incarnation of our God and Savior Jesus Christ (Titus 2:13; 2Peter 1:1; Isa. 9:6). Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 24, 2018

Avis Leaves Passenger Stranded on Christmas Eve with Unknown Debit Card Policy



Update 12/28/2018: Avis executive team has reached out and apologized and will work with addressing the concerns/costs regarding this whole ordeal.  

Update 1/5/2019: Florida Attorney General Pam Brodi's office has sent an inquiry to Avis to follow-up, thanks to Crystal Fukushima for taking care of the follow through on investigating this issue with the Avis Budget Group.

Update 1/10/2019: Avis executive team has investigated with the Avis Tampa location. They found the deficiency to be their policy updates to show up on an online travel agency (OTA) - Pcln. They promised Stacey that they will reimburse all expenses including the cost of the Lyft expense to Ft Myers. 

Update 1/14/2019: Avis refund confirmed.

Case closed.


BACKGROUND

As I write this, my sister Stacey is frantically looking for a ride home to be with her family on Christmas Eve.

She arrived in Tampa, Florida, with a debit card in hand with a confirmed booking with Avis. The day prior they confirmed with her on the phone that a debit card was acceptable for a one way reservation to Fort Myers, a city two hours south of Tampa. However, when she arrived, an Avis associate by the name of Ibrahim, at Avis Tampa Airport, stated this was not possible. In a convoluted way, he explained this is policy. When asked for a supervisor, he said this was policy and could not help.

Instead of calling for assistance from a superior or escalating to see how this could be resolved to help a customer on Christmas Eve, he commented that because her return flight was on the 31st, she would need to rent the car from the Dec 24th to 31st, even though she only needed it on the 24th.

He also stated they would not refund the $110 booking they charged her debit card.

This type of treatment by Avis / Budget is unacceptable. When Stacey asked Ibrahim where this policy is on their web site, he simply kept responding this was their policy. They now are keeping $110 for no services rendered. They are claiming a policy that isn't listed on any booking page or terms of service is their policy.

Avis. Budget. Tampa. Ibrahim. Shameful and greedy, on Christmas Eve. Santa's giving you coal today.

Please share with your friends and avoid this shameful company. Recordings are available to share, for media inquiries please inquire from don.sausa@gmail.com



Thursday, November 22, 2018

Remembering Marilyn Dee Parker, 1939 - 2013 on this Thanksgiving Day




Thanksgiving Day 2018: I look back at the individuals that have had a profound influence in my life. One of them, is Marilyn Dee Parker.  According to an online obituary, Marilyn passed away a day after Thanksgiving Day in 2013, about five years ago.

Mrs. Parker was the principal at the now closed Fort Myers Junior Academy, previously located at 13235 Palm Beach Blvd, Fort Myers, FL 33905. The school was a small K-8 school funded by my church (Fort Myers Seventh-Day Adventist Church), and a ministry supported by Pastor Marvin Williams.

After roofing problems and budget issues, the property was sold and eventually became the Millennium Christian Academy. It was also around this time Mrs. Parker moved on to another state.

While I was sad to see the school go, I was blessed to have been one of the last students there and blessed to have been under Mrs. Parker' tenure.

She made a significant difference in the lives of her students, as she was a very experienced educator and you could see how much she cared for her work. She was strict when we were out of line but focused on ensuring we were exposed to science, math, music, and the arts.

She took over the school when I was in my sixth grade and I was blessed enough to be able to learn from her until I graduated in the 8th grade..

When she arrived, it was my second school year in the United States. I was still adjusting and learning all that is about Southwest Florida and America.

Our middle school was small, and she was the main teacher for multiple grades covering many subjects from geography to creative writing. I remember my first geography report I've ever had to do was over a country called Liechtenstein and I was shaking nervously having to explain up front in class what this country was about. But she encouraged me and others to deliver those reports, to present in front of class, and time after time she pushed her students to be deliver presentations. As stressful as it was, it really helped challenge us and allowed us to learn public speaking.

I also remember her lessons and assignments on metaphors, haikus, general poetry and art. Her husband, David Parker, also setup a small computer science lab where I first learned how to type with Typing Tutor and enjoyed games like Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego. I still remember Mr. Parker talking about naming conventions of files and folders in the new tech back then: Windows 3.1.

Teachers like Mrs. Parker helped instill confidence in her students and was a strong educator that made the best out of small schools. We didn't have a plethora of PCs back then, but we had one very modern one. We didn't have huge stadiums, but we did have a decent field to run in and a large gym. Her teaching methods strict, but were strategic. She didn't prepare us for high school, or even college, she prepared us for the real world.

How lucky, and thankful I am to have had such a great teacher.



Obituary

Memorial services for Marilyn Parker, 74, will be at 11:00 a.m. Sunday, December 8, 2013 at the Seventh-Day Adventist Church of Ardmore.

Viewing and a time of visitation and support for family and friends will be Saturday from 5 to 7 p.m. at Harvey-Douglas Funeral Home.

Marilyn Dee Parker died November 30 at approximately 9:25 AM local time in her home in Ardmore OK. She was preceded in death by her daughter Dawn Gallo, and survived by her husband David and son Kenneth. She devoted her life to teaching, specializing in the late grade school years (e.g., 5th and 6th grades).

Marilyn was born Marilyn Garrison to Walter and Medline Garrison in Flint Michigan in 1939. The Garrisons were German farmer who came to America during the revolutionary war. She attended high school at Adelphian Academy in Holly MI and Southern Missionary College in Eastern Tennessee, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in elementary education and met her husband of 51 years, David Wallace Parker. 

After graduation David and Marilyn taught together at Atholton Adventist Academy (in Colombia MD). After a couple of years, they moved back to MI where she supported David through his master’s degree at Wayne State University and they had their first child, Kenneth. After David graduated they resumed teaching together at Platt Valley Academy in Shelton, NE, where they had their second child, Dawn. After the birth of their second child, she stayed home to raise her children. During this time they moved to Keene TX, Greenville NC, and Richmond VA. During this time she earned a Master’s of Arts (MA) in elementary education from East Carolina University and a second master’s in special education from Virginal Commonwealth University. After returning to work she taught in Pitt County Public School (in NC), Blackwell (in Richmond), and Richmond Junior Academy (in VA). In 1980 she was invited to return to her alma mater (now called Southern College) as a professor of education. She often described this as the best years of her life. Latter to support her family she moved away, returning to school herself, working on a doctorate at University of VA, completing all but a Dissertation. Latter she returned to Richmond, and moved to Wilmington DE. Even after retiring and moving to Fort Myers, FL, she returned to teaching. 

Later she moved to Jefferson TX where her and her husband taught together for the last time. In order to support her daughter (who lived in Ardmore) she moved to Ardmore, but couldn’t resist the urge to teach one more time at Beaver Academy.

She was especially known for her ability of turning around failing schools. She once took over as classroom where the previous teacher had been stabbed, in less than a year she not only restored order, but even more importantly raised the achievement level by 2 grade levels. Scores of parents have written to the family with stories about how she “saved” their child academically.

At the time of her death she had been fighting pancreatic cancer for a year. She had an active, happy thanksgiving with friends and family, but could not be roused from her sleep the following day. She woke briefly to say a few words before her death.
She made a difference in the world, quietly, by improving the minds of countless school children.

She will be missed.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Game changer! Microsoft's HoloLens review (concept)


"Because when you can change the way you see the world, you change the world you see."

HoloLens is an exciting new tech that upgrades on the virtual reality goggles of our time, and conceptually, a step better than Google Glass.  Microsoft has created a world changing tech, a new platform that has mass market appeal because it gives you new perspectives, and can take your imagination further...like on the surface of Mars.

I'm excited on what we can do with this once visual artists, photographers, filmmakers, researchers, and educators invest in this new medium.

An evolution
The concept of holograms has been around for ages and evolved over time as our understanding of lasers and x-rays improved.

It takes some work to create a hologram. You need to setup photographic plates, mirrors, and manipulate your angles. However, Microsoft's Alex Kipman, inventor of Kinect,  took on the challenge of a mass market hologram setup by looking at current available tech: virtual reality goggles. Why spend time and money on setting up an entire physical environment to produce a hologram, when you can let the human brain do the work for you by manipulating what your eyes see.

How it's done
The HoloLens, as this Wired article highlights, creates images using light particles that "bounce around millions of times in the so-called light engine of the device" which essentially tricks your brain into seeing light as matter.


Devs on HoloLens

Trailer


Saturday, February 01, 2014

Comparing Thailand's troubles to American politics

A social government under pressure

Thailand's government is under attack.

Typically these types of problems against democratically elected governments are caused by poor, and often uneducated jihadists in Africa and the Middle East. But in Thailand, it's the educated, urban and middle class voters, who have lost five elections in a row, that are protesting and in some cases, violently rebelling against the government.  

Their main contention is that Thaksin Shinawatra, an exiled former prime minister that was overthrown in a military coup and convicted for a conflict of interest case, is attempting to come back to Thailand by influencing the government to pass an amnesty bill.  

Thaksin's party is the most popular political force in the country through its socialistic welfare like policies.  Its programs has helped pushed health care coverage from 76% of the population to 96%, and cut poverty in half.  An example of its anti-poverty measures include buying up agricultural products such as rice above market prices.

A shrewd politician, he has elevated the poor, and expanded massive infrastructure jobs, but has isolated the middle class such as health professionals who have taken in more patients but less revenue.  International aid organizations like the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has warned Thailand of the dangers behind some of its social programs as non-sustainable.

Similarities with American politics

Not unlike American politics, a socialistic platform have lifted up the Democratic Party and opened up the way for the first ever election of an African-American president.  However, despite having a complete majority in Congress in Obama's first term, and complete control of the executive branch of government, the Democratic Party was unable to prevent historical back to back credit rating downgrades of the United States in 2011.  They have also created additional taxes against the middle class to support new universal health care coverage, and impacted professionals with lower payouts in Medicare.

The only thing that hasn't happened yet, in contrast to Thailand, is a coordinated nationwide rebellion against the ruling party.  Thankfully, the American electorate still respect the Constitution and will still voice their displeasure at the voting booth instead of firing a gun.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Help the Philippines: donate money or give water tablets


What's happening

By now, you are probably aware that the most powerful typhoon in world history (Haiyan) that hit land has wiped out certain towns in central Philippines.  Casualties are estimated to be around 2,500.  The worst hit areas have been on the island of Leyte, where storm surges above 13-15 ft surprised typhoon hardened residents.  There's millions left homeless and there's a dire need for food and water throughout central Philippines.

While the national and provincial governments warned all citizens to evacuate from the coastal area, nothing could prepare them for the storm surge that went well into the cities.  A renewed understanding of storm surges and it's potential impact 5-8 miles inland is going to be the biggest lesson that's learned from this tragedy.

How you can help: financial assistance (impact: immediate)

Financially
An organization I trust is Adventist Development and Relief Agency.  They've been on the ground in anticipation of the typhoon and have local presence in the Philippines.  In terms of accountability, they are highly ranked 4 out of 4 stars by Charity Navigator.   DONATE HERE

The American Red Cross is mobilizing hundreds of trucks and teams to disaster areas through the Red Cross of the Philippines.  Also highly ranked 4 out of 4 stars in terms of accountability by Charity Navigator.  DONATE HERE

If you are an American taxpayer, note these are tax deductible donations and can also reduce your taxes.  Work with your tax advisor for more details.

How you can help with water tablets (impact: < 2 weeks)

There are some tangible ways to donate to the Philippines.  Water is a basic need in any disaster but shipping tons of water is heavy, bulky, and impractical.  Dirty water in the Philippines is widely available via local streams, rainwater, aquifers, and can be converted to drinkable water by boiling it and using water purification tablets.



Friday, November 08, 2013

Dell Venue Pro 11 - where are all the options? (Dell confirms next week)


The new Dell Venue Pro 11 order page is now available but it's lacking certain high end configurations!  Shipment date is also pegged to be on December 13th.  Here's what one Dell representative had to say about this...

11/08/2013 04:00:12PM don sausa: "Can you access this link?"
11/08/2013 04:00:12PM don sausa: "http://www.dell.com/us/p/dell-venue-11-pro/pd"
11/08/2013 04:00:41PM don sausa: "About 3 pages down you will see a chart called "Dell Tablet Family""
11/08/2013 04:00:56PM don sausa: "there are two models listed, Venue 8 Pro and Venue 11 Pro"
11/08/2013 04:01:03PM don sausa: "in the venue 11 Pro, it says "Up to 8GB""
11/08/2013 04:01:11PM don sausa: "and it also says "Up to 256GB" in terms of SSD"
11/08/2013 04:01:19PM don sausa: "hard drive"
11/08/2013 04:01:37PM don sausa: "Those two options - the 8GB RAM and the 256GB hard drive -- how come they are not available?"
11/08/2013 04:02:10PM Agent (Aileen A): "I do apologize for the inconvenience Don. But as of now we only have the 4GB Ram configuration"
11/08/2013 04:02:24PM don sausa: "Can you ask your supervisor when the new one would come out?"
11/08/2013 04:04:12PM Agent (Aileen A): "Just checked.../"
11/08/2013 04:04:30PM Agent (Aileen A): "that configuration will be available in a week or so."
11/08/2013 04:04:46PM don sausa: "Okay that's the info I was waiting for. :-)"
11/08/2013 04:04:55PM Agent (Aileen A): "if you want i can email you personally if the configuration you want is already available"
11/08/2013 04:05:01PM don sausa: "Yes please."

Friday, November 01, 2013

SOLUTION: Nvidia Kernel Mode Driver errors


This is one of the most annoying errors I've come up against using NVIDIA graphic cards and judging from others' online posts, many have faced similar problems.  Unfortunately, "Display driver NVIDIA Windows Kernel Mode Driver, Version stopped [] responding and has successfully recovered" doesn't exactly communicate what's going on with the video card.

In my own experience, this error kept looping over and over again while I playing video games. 

Problem Identification
  1. You may need to update your video card drivers.
  2. You may have an incompatible program/video game that's causing the issue.
  3. Your card maybe experiencing too much heat.
  4. You may have a bad video card.

The solutions for #1, #2, and #4, are fairly straightforward.  Update your drivers, test other programs.  And if you can exchange for the same model video card to test, go ahead and do it.  But the third issue in particular, overheating, is often overlooked in most online posts.  

You need to monitor your internal PC / GPU temperatures to see if it's simply an overheating problem.  Your overall cooling solution, or lack of, in your personal computer/laptop might be the cause.

Solution for #3: SpeedFan
This free program helps you monitor all of your fans, measure core temperatures, and allows you to set thresholds to improve your system's cooling.  This simple freeware program helped reduce heat problems in my system and the kernel driver errors no longer appeared.

Safe CNET Download Link: Speedfan

Friday, October 25, 2013

Dell Venue 11 Pro release date (Dell rep confirms)



Dell gets it...finally a tablet for the enterprise user

I think the new Dell Venue 11 Pro tablet is a winner.  A company does innovative things when it's losing market share, and Dell has done well by releasing a product that many enterprise users are waiting for.

Enterprise users are done with underpowered iPad toys with quirky little 99 cent apps.  While cool and it gives another time sink for our idle lives, the Venue 11 Pro promises real work in tablet form, much like the Surface Pro.

The main difference between Microsoft's tablet and Dell's?  The Venue 11 Pro has replaceable batteries, giving you more mobility.  You aren't tied to a power outlet.  Secondly, there's 3G/LTE capabilities, meaning unlike the Surface Pro, you can access the Internet natively through a data plan.

Power.  Mobility.  Connectivity.

Goodbye iPad, you're just a stepping stone for something greater.

The tablet release date is tentatively November 12th.

UPDATE #1: Looks like certain configurations are now available. I still don't see the 8GB RAM and 250GB SSD HD spec on there though. Furthermore, the ship date seems to be on December 13th. If you can't wait for this, the best next step is buying the Razer Edge Pro 256GB.

UPDATE #2: Here's more information from a Dell representative on when the high-end configurations would be available.

TimeDetails
10/25/2013 11:32:37AMSession Started with Agent (Sohrab K)
10/25/2013 11:32:37AMdon sausa: "."
10/25/2013 11:32:49AMAgent (Sohrab K): "Welcome to Dell US Chat! My name is Sohrab Alam Khan and I will be your Dell.com Sales Chat Expert.
I can be reached at  xxx. How can I help you today?"
10/25/2013 11:32:53AMdon sausa: "Sohrab when is Dell Venue 11 available?"
10/25/2013 11:33:16AMAgent (Sohrab K): "Glad you chatted in today, I'd be happy to help you"
10/25/2013 11:33:41AMAgent (Sohrab K): "Don Venue 11 will be launched in the 2nd week of November"
10/25/2013 11:33:58AMAgent (Sohrab K): "we do have the Venue 7 , 8 and Venue 8 pro available now"
10/25/2013 11:34:02AMAgent (Sohrab K): "would you like me to recommend a great deal based on your usage"
10/25/2013 11:43:35AMdon sausa: "What date"
10/25/2013 11:43:49AMdon sausa: "How long does it take to ship?"
10/25/2013 11:44:05AMAgent (Sohrab K): "it shows post 12th and delivery we have 5-7 days"
10/25/2013 11:44:13AMAgent (Sohrab K): "launch date is 12th"
10/25/2013 11:44:53AMAgent (Sohrab K): "we also offer next day delivery"
10/25/2013 11:45:00AMAgent (Sohrab K): "there is a charge of $25"

Buy or give this book as a gift:

Friday, October 11, 2013

(FIX) Unable to change priority. The operation could not be completed. Access denied.


Problem: When I try to change the priority of a process in Task Manager, it gives me an error:

"Unable to change priority. The operation could not be completed. Access denied."

Solution:  This issue plagued me for a few minutes and saw quite a few folks have issues about this on the Internet.  The first issue could be that you don't have administrative access (admin) on your PC.  Assuming that's not the case, since you're smarter than that and even searched for an answer on the Internet, the probable issue is that Task Manager needs to be re-run as admin.  Click Show processes from all users or Start -> Run -> taskmgr, right click and run as admin.

Why do I want to change priorities of a process?  You may want to give certain programs higher access/priority vs others.  Let's say you're working on an extremely important Excel workbook or doing video or image editing, you can set other programs at a lower priority and focus on your most important tasks.  This "speeds" up your work, but in reality you're manually adjusting and tweeking what works best for you and not what Windows thinks should be done.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Photogs beware: phishing attempt (AHG or Art Hunters Group)



I'm posting this warning so some of my photog friends who run online galleries don't get trapped by this suspicious attempt to get your personal information.  I LOL'd at this attempt as they tried to phish for my info.  ;-)  

A new domain (arthuntersgroup.com) created just a couple days ago is representing itself to be some sort of art consortium.  The email starts out like the one pasted below and the URLs bring  you through somewhere in Poland. The arthuntersgroup.com web site is hosted somewhere in Provo, Utah using hostmonster.com.  

----------------

Please let me introduce myself. I am Elizabeth Longdale, Art&Design Blog Research Coordinator at the AHG (Art Hunters Group). We specialize in head-hunting services for businesses from the field of graphics, design and photography.
Currently we are gathering the artists, designers and photographers for one of our clients, a newly launched art startup specializing in releasing handpicked artworks on metal plates.
We believe that your blog  XXXXX has the potential to be published there.

The site is currently closed and "members only". If you are interested please use the following invitation url (usable only once):  XXXXX
Should you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact me directly.

Best Regards
Elizabeth Longdale
Art&Design Blog Research Coordinator @ AHG

----------------

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Teleperformance in Davao?

Check out Teleperformance Philippines' Facebook posting today to see the latest buzz.

About Teleperformance

Teleperformance is the largest BPO company in the world, and considered as #1 by several industry analysts, including prestigious research firms like Gartner, who recently ranked all of the BPOs worldwide. Their results consistently has placed Teleperformance as the worldwide leader in contact center services:

Davao City - the place to be

Davao City is now officially on the BPO road map with the largest contact center company now actively recruiting for positions.

Monday, November 12, 2012

New cancer treatment isolates chemo from body


Great news recently in cancer research.  We all know that chemotherapy can kill good and bad cells.  This is why so many refuse treatment and why they choose to live out their days trying out alternative treatments.  In the UK, doctors at Southampton General Hospital have been able to isolate specific organs in applying chemotherapy; therefore, greatly reducing the damage to healthy cells and also reducing the recovery period for the patient.

An interesting write up can be found here and here.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

"A night stroll in Houhai" shot on Canon 7D - 60 Seconds of Culture


Houhai is a recreational lake area in central Beijing. It is famous for its nightlife and is home to many popular restaurants, bars, and cafes as well as recreational boating activities.

If you haven't been to Houhai, you haven't been to Beijing.

Shot around June 2010 using a Canon EOS 7D camera.

Photography by Don Sausa
Music score ("Dancing Leaves") by Ben Beiny
Video techniques available on Camera 7D.

Find more vids on my channel here:

Friday, November 25, 2011

Review: The Sound of Music at Resorts World Manila


The Sound of Music @ Resorts World Manila
Originally uploaded by Don Sausa


The Sound of Music is a 1959 Broadway musical by Richard Rodgers.

Resorts World Manila started production of this musical in October, at their brand new 1,500 seater performing arts theater.

The musical was inspired by the true story of a WWI naval war hero, Georg von Trapp, and his family's journey through the loss of a spouse, a second marriage and a second world war.

The near 3 hour musical focuses on first the developing love story of Georg and Maria, and then highlights the Trapp family's musical act that made them famous around the world. And then finally, their struggle against the Nazis and their escape away from their native home of Austria, which was annexed by the Germans in 1938.

While this didn't take away from the outstanding performance of the cast in portraying this classic, I felt there were too many "attendants" with LED flash lights roaming around the theater. What in the world are they looking for? Folks filming this with their cell phones?

Despite the tiny annoyance of attendants scurrying along the corner of your eye every few minutes, my daughter and son loved seeing the Trapp kids sing and dance around the stage and my wife was genuinely mesmerized with the love story. There's not much that can top a good musical that can entertain the youth and inspire even the more mature audiences. I certainly enjoyed the familiar songs of yesteryear and it took me back to fond memories of my junior and high school years. (Yeah, I was lucky enough to go to schools that encouraged to use all parts of our brains.)

If you are near Metro Manila and want to add some cultural depth to your weekend activities, I'd recommend the Sound of Music.

Flickr enhances privacy, adds geofences


Flickr, the world's premier photo sharing site made a major improvement to its privacy controls these past few weeks.  If you use Flickr and share location information of your photographs, you need to spend a few minutes and read about their new geofences privacy features.

I'm glad that despite having some highly publicized lay offs , they managed to improve the site and integrate geolocation controls.  The new geofences tool gives users the ability to hide location information if it is too close for comfort.  For instance, you may want to remove geolocation information on your home pictures, or make sure that only your contacts or family members can see them.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Repairing your personal UPS power supply by replacing the battery


If you have lived in a country that's didn't have a quality power grid, then I'm sure you can relate to this post.  In developing countries, constant fluctuations occur with the power supply and with the voltage.

This spells trouble for many electronic devices.  Without consistent power supply or without stable voltage, your latest gadget could fry within seconds if it is left unprotected.  That's why computer shops and office supply stores near my area sell a lot of surge protectors, voltage regulators, and uninterruptible power supply (UPS) units.

My preference will always be UPS+surge protector units like APC's Back-UPS ES 500.  They give me a few crucial minutes to shutdown my computers and other devices properly; hence, reducing the chance of data loss or equipment damage.  But the batteries within these UPS units are typically not heavy duty and do not last long against the constant voltage changes.  So if you find that your UPS unit dies out and it is no longer under warranty, don't think you have to totally replace it.  You may just need to change the battery.  You can still save it by buying a battery replacement.

Steps on how to fix it

  1. Unplug all devices, unplug the UPS unit, and make sure it is fully drained (no battery life, doesn't turn on).
  2. Buy a 12v9Ah/20HR battery from any hardware store (note: your UPS unit maybe different from mine and the battery unit might be different).  In this case, I bought an Akari branded battery.
  3. Get a Philips screwdriver and unscrew the 5 screws from the bottom part of the UPS unit.
  4. Take note and remember the placement of the two power plugs - red and black - that you see on the old battery.
  5. Remove those power plugs and replace the old battery.
  6. Screw it back on and put in the screws back in place (wait 15 minutes before plugging in anything new into the sockets).  
Viola!  Your UPS unit should be fully working like new.  If it still does not function, you either did it wrong or there's other issues with the unit.



Saturday, October 29, 2011

An open letter in response to the OWS open letter




This is the open letter I'm responding to.


While I'm not the person being addressed, I wanted to talk about the liberal viewpoint and their perception of what is proper work ethic.

Let's start this conversation by stating this fact: I live in a planet that has 2 of 3 Americans overweight (including the OWS protestors that are "poor") and in a world that has people dying every 3.6 seconds due to starvation -- and most of these folks that die hungry are under the age of 5.

Now with that framework, let's continue reading.


Do you really want the bar set this high?

Why not? Compared to the world that has kids dying every few seconds, we should feel lucky that we have the opportunities here in this wonderful country to set any bar "high".

Do you really want to live in a society where just getting by requires a person to hold down two jobs and work 60 to 70 hours a week?

This is a country where there's tons of opportunities to move up in class. College education for high school grads are deeply discounted for those that have good grades. Hospitals and desperate medical facilities will pay for your tuition and license fees if you graduate as a nurse. I know many people that work hard in low paying jobs only to find higher paying jobs by getting an education that the market needs. What is wrong with this?

Is that your idea of the American Dream?

My American dream is that you work hard, get work experience or an education that the market needs, you land a decent job, then you can pay for your expenses and take care of your family. The majority of the world does not have this. I'm lucky enough to understand this concept because I lived poor from another country. From my point of view, the protestors look extremely spoiled. Given mostly free education up to high school, significant amount of employment (91% have jobs), and a college system that gives deep discounts on tuitions or scholarships for folks with high grades. If your state doesn't have that, move. Plus a federal govt that actually pays for education if you join part time reserves in the Coast Guard or other branches that's not directly involved in armed conflict?

The opportunities here are enormous. Wake up to what you have and appreciate it.

Do you really want to spend the rest of your life working two jobs and 60 to 70 hours a week? Do you think you can? Because, let me tell you, kid, that’s not going to be as easy when you’re 50 as it was when you were 20.

The rest of the world does, and I actually love work. Surprise. I don't think I'll stop working -- ever. It's not about the money, it's the love for work. But America has opportunities, there's tons of positions in health care that continues to be left unfilled. It doesn't matter what age either -- you can find work if you really want to. You can get an education if you really want to.

And what happens if you get sick? You say you don’t have health insurance, but since you’re a veteran I assume you have some government-provided health care through the VA system. I know my father, a Vietnam-era veteran of the Air Force, still gets most of his medical needs met through the VA, but I don’t know what your situation is. But even if you have access to health care, it doesn’t mean disease or injury might not interfere with your ability to put in those 60- to 70-hour work weeks.

Doesn't the American govt and taxpayers provide more than enough? If you are poor, Medicaid. If you are a senior, Medicare. If you are disabled?  Social Security.  But are we forgetting responsibility of our family members as well?

Most illnesses that is not caused by lifestyle or personal choices (nearly 2 of 3 Americans are overweight), are the common cold and bacterial infection. If it's bacterial, antibiotics are mainly provided for free by most pharmacies and deeply discounted in retail chains like WalMart.

Let's get educated on health care, let's understand what causes the problems (bad diet/no exercise/smoking), and if we want to talk about specific points or illnesses, let's look at it and how much of that is a personal responsibility and how much of that is an issue that the rest of America has to pay for. (Example: Instead of a $3,000 operation that a US medical facility might charge you due to overhead expenses in labor/minimum wage laws and malpractice insurance, could you take an $800 flight and $300 bill in a professional facility in another country to get it done?)

Do you plan to get married, have kids? Do you think your wife is going to be happy with you working those long hours year after year without a vacation? Is it going to be fair to her? Is it going to be fair to your kids? Is it going to be fair to you?

Lots of subjectivity here and lack of respect for contentment. Travel outside of the world and you will realize what real hunger is. Do you put food on the table? Do your kids have a better chance than you because they went through school? Can your wife work or take up classes in college after the kids have grown? Improve your family status if you want to, and stop comparing yourselves to others -- because if you do, compare down as well as up. You'll realize you are extremely lucky to have not been born elsewhere and instead in America.

But by the time we got through the Great Depression and WWII, we’d all learned some valuable lessons about working together and sharing the prosperity, and the 8-hour workday became the norm.

Are we forgetting the other story?

And then the unions became more selfish and killed every industry it touched (auto/GM/Ford/airlines/etc).  Companies who have investors (70% of American households invest in retirement accounts that invest in corporations) had to move their business to other states or countries to make a profit.

Other Asian companies saw this mockery of work, innovated and built cars and have even built factories in America just to show how it's done.

Let's not totally forget that side of the story -- that the legacy costs of union demands have almost wiped out our once golden industries. Thank goodness for the foreigners that built factories here, learned from GM/Ford/etc, and reminded us of the original American work ethic, innovation, and quality.  We are just now catching up to our competitors.

There needs to be workers rights - sure - but not to the extent where companies go belly up and can't compete.  Unions are no longer about fair treatment but how much they squeeze out of a corporation.

Anyway, do you understand what I’m trying to say?

Yes, you want more stuff for less work.  Your level of comfort is what the "dream" is about.  One statistic tells it all.  2 of 3 Americans are overweight, while in the rest of the world, every 3.6 seconds one person dies of starvation. Usually it is a child under the age of 5. (Source: UNICEF)

The point?  Stop being spoiled, appreciate what you have, and work.

Don't get me wrong, there's a lot of people that agree with your attitude, and it is very much so prevalent in the PIGS. (Portugal, Italy, Greece, Spain)  Read up how they are doing.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Occupy Wall Street truth pill: About those evil corporations




This video summarizes what #ows (Occupy Wall Street) protests are all about. They make general statements about corporate greed and apparently that's enough to demand for free hand outs. What's worst is that the mindless hordes (aka zombies) generalize corporations as evil.

  • About 70% of American households invest in corporations through retirement accounts. Corporations have to produce profit and create shareholder wealth. In essence, part of their job is to make sure 70% of American households have more money than what they originally started with. Is this wrong? Most logical people would say, no. But zombies, do they understand this?






  • It is wrong when people do fraudulent activities. It is also wrong when mindless hordes say corporate executives who break the law do not go to jail or have not been punished. I have listed just a small sample of people that have gone to jail. But do zombies understand this?


  • Jeff Skilling, former CEO of Enron, Serving 24 years for fraud, insider trading, and other crimes related to the collapse of Enron







  • Bernie Ebbers, former CEO of WorldCom, Serving 25 years for accounting fraud that cost investors over $100 billion







  • Dennis Kozlowski, former CEO of Tyco, Serving 8 to 25 years for stealing $134 million from Tyco







  • John Rigas, former CEO of Adelphia Communications, Serving 25 years for bank, wire, and securities fraud related to the demise of Adelphia







  • Sanjay Kumar, former CEO of Computer Associates, Serving 12 years for obstruction of justice and securities fraud







  • Walter Forbes, former CEO of Cendant, Serving 12 years for fraud







  • Richard Scrushy, former CEO of HealthSouth, Serving 7 years for bribery and mail fraud







  • Joseph Nacchio, former CEO of Qwest Communications, Serving 6 years for insider trading







  • Sam Waksal, former CEO of ImClone, Served 7 years for securities fraud (released last year)







  • Martin Grass, former CEO of Rite Aid, Served 6 years for fraud and obstruction (just released this year)