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Steve Ulrich is a principal at Bay Integrated Marketing: I have been working with people to maximize their use of social media and internet publishing, optimize their websites to turn prospects into customers, and establish their personal brand on the internet. We are also working with Eco Distribution, Inc. to find and implement practical solutions to help clean up our air and the environment. Eco Distribution, Inc. is a California based Distributor and Representative Firm dealing in environmentally friendly and Green solutions. We have leveraged 30 years experience in responsible construction management to provide solutions for some of the most impactful challenges facing our air, water, and land. We have an oil/hydrocarbon remediation system that is effective on everything from simple oil stains on a driveway, to complex oil disasters in the ocean. My approach to social media and internet marketing is simple. Instead of spending a fortune “buying” keywords and ads that don’t return anything we concentrate on three areas: I CAN GET YOU FOUND ON LINKEDIN - NUMBER ONE, PAGE ONE.

“Free Trade”: The Elites Are Selling It But The Public Is No Longer Buying

by Dave Johnson –

“Voters have figured out that our country’s current “free trade” policies are killing their jobs, wages, cities, regions and the country’s middle class,” writes Johnson.

“Free trade”: The elites are selling it but the public is longer buying it. Look at the support for Democrat Bernie Sanders and Republican Donald Trump, especially in light of Sanders’ surprise 20-point comeback in this week’s Michigan primary. With primaries coming soon in Ohio, Illinois, Missouri and North Carolina, will Sanders’ trade appeal resonate again?

Voters See Free Trade Killing Their Jobs And Wages

Voters have figured out that our country’s current “free trade” policies are killing their jobs, wages, cities, regions and the country’s middle class. Giant multinational corporations and billionaires do great under free trade, the rest of us not so much.

Elites say increasing trade is always good. But when you close a factory here, then open the factory “there” and bring the same goods back to sell in the same outlets, you have “increased trade” because those goods now cross a border. The differential between wages paid here and there goes into the pockets of the executives and shareholders. Those unemployed American workers add to wage pressures on the rest of us. Inequality increases.

There are other bad consequences as the effects of free trade ripple through local economies. The stores and gas stations and restaurants where the workers shopped and dined have to cut back. The factory’s suppliers have to cut back and lay off, too. Property values drop in the neighborhoods where all of those workers lived. The local tax base erodes. Roads and buildings and downtowns deteriorate… (The old lead pipes going to the houses do not get replaced.)

On a national scale, these local effects add up to a tragedy.

The national industrial ecosystem collapses as well. The manufacturing “know-how” migrates out of the country. The schools that taught people how to do what the factory did drop those classes. The investors who know how to evaluate manufacturing proposals go away. The raw materials pipeline migrates away. Reviving the outsourced industries will require tremendous and nationally coordinated investment.

For decades we’ve been told all this is actually good for “us.” But people have come to understand that the “us” this is good for doesn’t include about 99 percent of “us” or our country.

Trade Behind Sanders’ Michigan Upset

Sanders’ Michigan primary upset was most likely driven by his repeated trade message. Michigan’s primary upset demonstrates again that voters have caught on that our country’s trade policies have sent millions of jobs out of the country, put tremendous downward pressure on wages, decimated regions of the country (Flint, Detroit, the “rust belt”) and are dealing a death blow to America’s middle class.

Watch this Sanders ad on the damage our trade deals have done:

While people talk about “NAFTA” (the North American Free Trade Agreement) the term is really used as a shorthand for all of our country’s disastrous trade policies, including the millions of jobs and tens of thousands of factories outsourced to China.

Dave Jamieson, Labor Reporter at The Huffington Post, writes about how trade contributed to Sanders’ upset, in “Why Bernie Sanders And Donald Trump Won The Michigan Primaries“:

The exit polling from Michigan indicates that most voters there are wary of free trade agreements — and that Sanders and Trump drubbed their opponents among those voters.

According to CNN, 58 percent of Democratic voters polled after casting ballots said they believe U.S. trade with other countries takes away U.S. jobs, compared with just 30 percent who said they believe it creates them. Among that group, Sanders won by a whopping 17-point margin: 58 percent to Democratic rival Hillary Clinton’s 41 percent. He won the primary overall by less than a 2-point margin.

[. . .] Trade — and resentment toward U.S. trade policy — has been the sleeper issue in 2016.  By eliminating trade barriers with low-wage countries, the North American Free Trade Agreement and subsequent treaties over the past two decades have encouraged U.S. companies to move jobs to countries where workers are paid less.

Sanders has made a point of pressing Clinton on trade throughout the Democratic debates, including just days ago. The Vermont independent has been a vocal opponent of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade deal with 12 Pacific Rim countries championed by President Barack Obama. Clinton’s stance on the deal hasn’t beennearly as clear.

The New York Times reported in “Trade and Jobs Key to Victory for Bernie Sanders“:

Mr. Sanders pulled off a startling upset in Michigan on Tuesday by traveling to communities far from Detroit and by hammering Mrs. Clinton on an issue that resonated in this still-struggling state: her past support for trade deals that workers here believe robbed them of manufacturing jobs. Almost three-fifths of voters said that trade with other countries was more likely to take away jobs, according to exit polls by Edison Research, and those voters favored Mr. Sanders by a margin of more than 10 points.

At The Washington Post, David Weigel and Lydia DePillis write in, “Voters skeptical on free trade drive Sanders, Trump victories in Michigan“:

The salience of trade, in a state where unemployment had tumbled more than half since the start of the Great Recession, blindsided a Democratic Party that has struggled to find coherence between its labor base and its neoliberal leadership. It also worried Republicans, whose leaders and donors are resolutely in favor of free trade.

“There has been a bipartisan conventional wisdom that the damage done to working-class jobs and incomes are simply part of inevitable changes, ones we cannot and should not challenge,” said Larry Mishel, president of the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute. “Even President Obama is blaming inequality problems on technological change, which is not even a plausible explanation for post-2000 America. People correctly understand that many elites simply believe that wage stagnation is something we cannot change.”

… In Michigan, exit pollsters for the first time asked voters whether they thought trade created or took away American jobs. The “take away” faction made up 55 percent of the Republican primary vote and 57 percent of the Democratic primary vote. Trump won the GOP faction with 45 percent, and Sanders won the Democratic side with 56 percent.

Trump, Too

A YUGE part of Donald Trump’s appeal is his position on trade. A new poll shows that 66% of Republican voters oppose TPP.

Last week’s post, Trump Taps Into Economic Anxiety Resulting From ‘Free Trade’ noted that “Trump is tapping into an economic anxiety felt by many, many Americans. Our trade policies are at the root of this anxiety, and Trump knows it and says it, and people nod their heads.” Here is Trump speaking after the “Super Tuesday” primaries:

Our nation is in serious trouble. we’re being killed on trade, absolutely destroyed, China is just taking advantage of us. I have nothing against China, I have great respect for China but their leaders are just too smart of our leaders, our leaders don’t have a clue. And the trade deficits at 400 billion dollars and 500 billion dollars, are too much, no country can sustain that kind of trade deficit. It won’t be that way for long, we have the greatest business leaders in the world, on my team already, and believe me we’re going to redo those trade deals and it’s going to be a thing of beauty.

Trump has been sounding this message throughout his campaign. Here is Trump on trade from last November:

Trump on Sanders:

“I’ll tell you, there’s one thing that we’ve very similar on,” Trump said during a town hall hosted by MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski. “He knows that our country is being ripped off big league, big league, on trade.”

Elites Getting The Message

The country’s elites might just be getting the message. The D.C. insider newsletter Daily 202 agrees, in “Six explanations for Bernie Sanders’s surprise win in Michigan“:

1. A message of economic populism, particularly protectionism, is much more potent in the Rust Belt than we understood.

Most Michiganders feel like they are victims of trade deals, going back to NAFTA under Bill Clinton, and they’re deeply suspicious of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Outsourcing has helped hollow out the state’s once mighty manufacturing core.

Trump and Sanders both successfully tapped into this.

Six in 10 Michigan Democratic primary voters said international trade takes away U.S. jobs, and Sanders won these voters by roughly 20 points, according to preliminary exit poll data reported by CNN. Only 3 in 10 thought trade creates jobs; Clinton won that group.

One-third of voters said Clinton is too pro-business. Sanders won more than four in five of them.

… Clinton, after speaking supportively of the TPP, flip-flopped once the agreement was signed.

Similarly, D.C.-insider Politico, “5 takeaways from Bernie’s Michigan miracle“:

4. Free trade is Clinton’s albatross. Just as the cable networks were calling the shocker for Sanders, an email popped into my inbox from one architect of Obama’s 2008 triumph, who was travelling overseas. “Americans really hate free trade,” he wrote. “Don’t know how else to explain it. Same thing running through republican race.”

Clinton … has the burden of schlepping the albatross of NAFTA with her throughout the Midwest. This is where voters’ lack of trust and her core belief in the value of open markets for American manufacturers collide: When Clinton questions free trade nobody really believes her; Sanders’ thunderous anti-free trade talk taps a vein of deep grievance, his cash advantage allowed him to saturate markets with word of his opposition to TPP and NAFTA – and his debate-stage answer on the topic was pithier and more convincing than Clinton’s.

Will Sanders’ Trade Position Resonate In Upcoming Primaries?

There are primaries coming soon in Ohio, Illinois, Missouri and North Carolina, and there are signs that a fair trade message is breaking through. The Alliance for American Manufacturing took a look at one of these states, Ohio, writing in,” Ohioans Love Manufacturing — and Favor Getting Tough on China Trade“:

And a new statewide poll of likely Ohio voters finds trade will likely be a dominant issue in the March 15 primary, as vast majorities of respondents worry that the United States has “lost too many manufacturing jobs” and think it would be effective to “crack down on foreign countries that violate their trade agreements.”

… Conducted Feb. 27 to March 2 by Public Opinion Research and The Mellman Group, the poll looked at voter opinion on trade, manufacturing and the presidential candidates. Researchers discovered that while support for American manufacturing is nearly universal, majorities of respondents are worried about a shrinking middle class and the impact of manufacturing job loss.

Most participants are also concerned about foreign trade, including with China. Ninety-one percent agreed that it’s time for crack down on countries that violate trade agreements, and 83 percent said that it is important that China is officially declared a currency manipulator.

… Other key findings:

● 93 percent of participants worry that the U.S. has “lost too many manufacturing jobs in this country.”

● 74 percent of participants have unfavorable views of “manufactured goods made in China,” including 77 percent of “conservative” respondents.

● 96 percent of participants are favorable of “manufactured goods made in America,” including 98 percent of “conservative members of the GOP.”

● 92 percent of participants think that “too many jobs are being shipped overseas” and 86 percent are worried they “don’t seem to manufacture anything here in America anymore.”

Illinois, Missouri and North Carolina have also been hammered by outsourcing of jobs caused by trade policies and likely have similar sentiments.

There Is A Better Way To Do Trade

Current U.S. trade policies are written by representatives of multinational corporations with the intent of locking in their dominance while driving wages and environmental costs down. The resulting agreements are clearly in their interests and not the rest of us. Our country’s enormous, humongous trade deficit is a metric for understanding the damage being done to our country.

Now that the public is clearly rejecting the current trade approach, there are alternatives available. Just having non-corporate stakeholders including representatives of labor, consumer, human rights, environmental and other groups at the table would bring about a more fair and just trade regime.

The Congressional Progressive Caucus has released “Trade Principles that Put Workers First in Trade Agreements.” Click through for details, but summarized:

● Protect Congress’ Authority to Set Trade Policy
● Restore Balanced trade
● Put Workers First
● Stop Currency Manipulation
● Expand Buy America Procurement Practices
● Protect the Environment for Future Generations
● Prioritize Consumers above Profits
● Protect Nationhood Rights
● Secure Affordable Access to Essential Medicines and Services
● Respect Human Rights
● Provide a Safety Net for Vulnerable Workers

The 2013 AFL-CIO convention passed Resolution 12: America and the World Need a New Approach to Trade and Globalization, calling for a “people-centered trade policy” that will:

● Create shared gains for the workers whose labor creates society’s wealth.
● Strengthen protections for the environment. Companies must not use trade rules to pit one country’s environmental rules against another, as they seek the lowest-cost place to produce.
● Protect the freedom to regulate in the public interest.
● Set rules for fair competition. Workers of a nation must not be unduly disadvantaged by unfair economic competition resulting from choices about how to organize their economies.
● Include strong rules of origin so that trade agreements are not merely a conduit to ease the global corporation’s race to the bottom.
● Not provide extraordinary privileges to foreign investors.
● Effectively address currency manipulation.
● Retain the ability for all nations to stimulate their economies through domestic infrastructure and spending programs.
● Protect the right of governments to choose the scope and level of public services to provide.
● Protect intellectual property (IP) in a fair and balanced manner.
● Protect the unique U.S. transportation regulatory and legal structure.
● Protect the right of governments to secure the integrity and stability of their financial systems.
● Be negotiated in an open, democratic and accountable manner.
● Be flexible and responsive.


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Avoid That Pain in the… 3 Ways to Reduce Saddle Sores

In any sport, there are certain injuries that are considered “badges of honor” — unavoidable misfortunes that we can chalk up to experience and the journey toward becoming serious athletes in our favorite pursuits.

For cyclists, IT band soreness and broken collarbones are ones we encounter from time to time. But there’s one that’s much more common — and a little harder to discuss with your friends: saddle sores.

Yup, that skin irritation in the, well, most sensitive part of your gear. In some ways, saddle sores are inevitable, but the good news is they don’t need to be a frequent part of your cycling experience. Here are three tips to minimize their effect and keep you riding in comfort.

1. Get out of your chamois.

There’s always that one person who will tell you stories about how he wears his chamois all day and never gets saddle sores. Ultimately, it’s good practice to get out of your wet cycling gear as soon as possible so your skin can start healing in a dry and clean environment. There’s a great book on this topic by MapMyFitness contributor Molly Hurford (and, full disclosure, my fiancée!) entitled Saddle, Sore: A Women-Only Guide to You and Your Bike. One of its suggestions is to change out of your bike shorts as soon as you’re done riding, especially if you’re prone to irritation or infections.

Evan Guthrie of the Norco Factory Team has found a huge benefit to getting out of his chamois and showering as soon as possible after a ride. “I’ll grab a recovery shake, then go get clean to help reduce the chances of needing extra recovery days due to something like a saddle sore,” he says, “which helps me achieve more quality workouts over the course of a season.”

2. Stand up.

As a coach, this is an area I often ask about, as many cyclists are told to never stand up because it’s inefficient. In fact, the standing motion makes steep climbs easier and also has the benefit of letting pressure off your saddle area. (In other words, if your butt hurts, stop sitting on it so much!) If you find yourself inside or on very flat, monotonous terrain, try setting a timer to remind you to stand or, better yet, try searching for more variety in your rides to challenge skills like cornering, climbing and standing. The key to standing is learning to transfer your weight from one pedal to the other to find balance twice per pedal stroke. Try pausing at the bottom of each pedal stroke while looking ahead and feeling your all your weight over that pedal.

3. Check your laundry detergent.

If your saddle sores are more of a rash and worsen regardless of how much you clean up or how much fiddling you do with your bike setup, it might be good to try a hypoallergenic detergent. One of the key changes Hurford recommends in Saddle, Sore is washing your shorts with the chamois facing out and using an extra rinse to make sure all the detergent is removed before drying and wearing.

If you find your sores aren’t gone within a few rides, it’s worth taking a day or two off from riding. If they still don’t improve, visit your doctor to ensure you don’t require a more advanced topical treatment. Respecting your tissue will help you prevent extended periods off your bike or, worse, surgery. And that’s way more uncomfortable than just talking about it.


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Brutal Truths That Will Make You a Better Person


1. Nobody is actually too busy to respond to you.
That guy or girl isn’t too busy to answer your text. That employer isn’t too busy to answer your email. If you’re not hearing back from someone, it’s because they have deliberately chosen not to answer you. And the sooner you stop making excuses for the people who don’t make you a priority, the sooner you can move on to the people and situations that do.
2. Everyone has his or her own best interests at heart.
No matter how genuine, kindhearted or caring a particular person is, they’re always going to be more aware of their own needs than they are of yours. Even the most attentive lover may not realize they’re pushing your buttons if you never tell them they’re doing so. Even the most honest employer may not be aware that they’re working you into the ground if you just keep accepting more work.
Unfortunately, other people are going to be aware that they’re stretching your limits, but will nonetheless push you unless and until they encounter resistance. Most people are going to take as much from you as you let them get away with – which means it’s up to you to define and uphold your own boundaries. The most powerful people aren’t afraid to say ‘No,’ to what they don’t want to do – because they know that nobody’s going to stick up for them if they don’t stick up for themselves.
3. You are never going to please everybody.
If you actually listened to what every single person wanted from you, you’d end up a lifeless, shapeless, emotionless blob. And then someone would come along and tell you to be more interesting.
The truth is, it’s impossible to please everybody. There will always be someone who’s offended by the most traditional life path or bored by the most radical one. You’re going to be criticized no matter what you do, so you might as well do what you love. Because if there’s anyone whose judgment you should listen to, it’s your own.
4. The world owes you absolutely nothing.
You may be the coolest, kindest, smartest, most interesting person in the world, but if you’re not putting any of those traits to work, you’re entitled to absolutely nothing in exchange for possessing them.
Truly powerful people know that there are two basic choices: You can spend your entire life feeling sorry for yourself because you deserve more than you’re getting, or you can go out into the world and actually claim what’s yours. Guess which choice the more successful people tend to opt for?
5. The prize for arguing on behalf of your restrictions is getting to keep them.
You can spend your entire life loudly declaring to others that you don’t have the time, money, energy or resources to accomplish the things you actually want. And all of what you claim may be true – but the harsh truth is, every single person on the planet has at least one damn good excuse for not pursuing the life they want.
The difference between the people who get what they want out of life and those who don’t is that the people who get what they want ignore their excuses. They find a way around their limitations, instead of just bitching about them, and that is the very reason why they succeed.
6. Your actions define you, not your thoughts.
You can sit indoors all day conceptualizing a better world, but until you get out there and start implementing change, you’re not actually making a difference. Good intention is a wonderful thing but unless it’s coupled with action, it counts for nothing. At the end of the day, your character is determined by what you do, not by what you think about.
7. Nobody is coming to save you from your life.
We all want to believe that the person of our dreams, the job opportunity of a lifetime or the surprise that we never expected is waiting around the corner for us. When we’re unhappy with where we are, we irrationally hope that a drastic change in circumstance will come along and save us from our misery.
But the truth of the matter is, life doesn’t work that way. Nobody’s heading your way on a white horse and if you want to see change in your life, you have to create it from the ground up.
This is what the most powerful people know. When times get tough, the strongest people strap on their own armor, mount that white horse and come to their own rescue. Because they know that if anyone is going to save their day, it’s going to have to be them.

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I am what’s wrong with America*

*according to some guy

On Friday, I went on TV and called for empathy for supporters of Donald Trump. Forget the candidate for a second, I said. Let us ask what kind of pain is throbbing in those precincts most drawn to his theme of destructive renewal. And let us ask, those of us who have felt history to be moving in our direction, whether we listened to — not redressed, but listened to — the grievances of our “brothers and sisters” before they graduated into anger:

I think we need to listen to each other again…The fact that immigration scares people. I’m a son of immigrants. I’m not going to reduce my commitment to immigration. But can I empathize with the fact that if your town was 95 percent all white and now it’s down to 60, that that can scare you? Can I empathize with that? Yeah. And did people like me do a good job of doing that? No. We didn’t. And I think we need to rediscover each other as a people. We need to hear each other’s stories. We need to listen. We need to adopt someone from the other side and just say, like, “Beneath your ideas, what is the life story that gives rise to those ideas?” We need to do that at the level of individual conversations, families, TV shows. But we have a huge getting-back-together to accomplish.

Normally, the quote above would suffice, but I must share a screenshot, because it will explain everything that is wrong with America (according to some guy).

I received a few warm, generous notes from people around the country afterward. One said, simply and eloquently,

thanks for recognizing our deeply felt hurt today

just retired from manufacturing,


Another wrote a thoughtful note about supporting Trump-Pence only after giving up hope on his anti-powers-that-be dream ticket: Trump-Sanders:

People throughout the world would have been shocked to see that Democracy can and does work when people are reasonable enough to debate and compromise.

But on Facebook, some guy named James didn’t like my call for reconciliation. He offered this comment:

An effeminate, domesticated male like you will never comprehend this rage. You are literally incapable of viscerally understanding. The rage will continue. What are we upset about? We are upset that a guy like you has a voice in the public square. You can be in the square as long as you sit in the corner, facing outward without a pen and pencil and only speak when spoken to. That is the source of the rage. What is the deal with your hair? Grow up man/boy.

When I saw this comment, I was engaged in an activity that didn’t put me in a very good position to refute his charge of failing to live up to his standards of manliness. But still I answered:

James, I’m not sure what about me made you so worry for your own masculinity, but I am trying to reach out across the divides of the country I assume we both love. I will keep trying. And I will be happy to listen if you want to share your ideas and experiences and can muster the grace to do so. Now, if you’ll excuse me, this domesticated effeminate has to go feed his son.

Now, James didn’t like this. So he explained what it was that so offended him about my call for empathy. It was, let us say, visual. I, apparently, hadn’t assimilated enough. Which is strange, since I’m from Cleveland. He wrote:

Anand, your focus should be on assimilation and not celebrating diversity. The divisions in our nation are caused by cultural Marxism and the desire of newcomers not to assimilate but demand that the dominant culture celebrate the new that they are brining. How do we reach across the divides? The answer is for the new to assimilate. You can start by your hair.

(As an aside, I think James meant “bringing,” not “brining,” but while I have you, certain dishes really do benefit from brining, and I know you are tempted, as I am, to skip that step in your recipes, and you really shouldn’t.)

I now countered James on two fronts. First of all, my hair is American. My hairstyle is not common in India, where my parents come from. Not least because I get my hair cut in Harlem, by a Japanese woman, and doing this would be an inconvenience for 95 percent of Indians living in India. Second, I noticed on Facebook that James’s parents had been missionaries to Japan, and that James himself was born in that country. I wondered how being a missionary and bringing your foreign religion to other people squared with James’s criticism of “the desire of newcomers not to assimilate but demand that the dominant culture celebrate the new that they are brining.” (Again, we assume he meant “bringing.” But do remember to brine!) I asked him,

When your parents went to Japan, did they assimilate into local religious traditions, or did they try to get people to celebrate the new they were bringing? Just wondering.

Oh, no. This James did not like one bit. Not one bit. He came back at me:

My parents went with the distinct purpose to change the Japanese view of religion. Let me educate you the purpose of missionaries is to go and convert people in this case to Christianity.

People that leave everything to come to America to become Americans are not doing that. It’s a shame that I have to explain the difference between the role of a missionary and the role of an immigrant to you.

Your hair is a symbol of your rebellion and your condescension to the dominant culture here in America. Like a Japanese robe wandering business hours and afro or the henya above Spanish words.

If you want to be helpful here in America young man what you need to do is cut your hair and encourage other immigrants rather than focusing on diversity to focus on assimilation.

What is the problem in America the problem is people like you that believe in cultural Marxism division rather than Unity.

Let me educate you again. Grab one of the pieces of currency in your pocket and write the words e Pluribus Unum a hundred times.

What is the bridge that needs to be overcome what needs to be done for Unity in this country people like you your generation and your worldview to change towards assimilation and not to be focused on diversity.

What is the fuel behind the Trump phenomenon? A visceral reaction to Someone Like You on our television screen?

Step 1 get a haircut, step to focus your mind set your world view on assimilation and not diversity, step 3 show some humility.

When Trump says he wants to build a wall, when he says we should not be politically correct any longer, Anand you should view that as a rhetorical missile headed straight for you.

We’re tired of being asked to change, it’s over, you go get a haircut.

Bless your heart😉

Make sure you do your homework there will be a test.

One of the things I have gotten to appreciate about James is that his words really speak for themselves. So I will only need to make a few observations in closing.

  1. James asks me to be “helpful here in America.” But James appears, according to his Facebook check-ins, to be in Japan at this very moment. Though we do not see eye to eye, I hope they do not build any wall before he has the chance to rejoin us here in America.
  2. James suggests that I cut my hair and “encourage other immigrants rather than focusing on diversity to focus on assimilation.” Here’s the thing, James. “Other immigrants” wouldn’t be the correct formulation here, because I AM NOT AN IMMIGRANT. I was born in Cleveland. And you, according to your Facebook bio, were born in Japan, which would make you the immigrant, James, wouldn’t it now? Welcome to America.
  3. Your missionary/immigrant distinction makes no sense, because it is designed for self-justification. By your logic, a missionary is a category of immigrant who is entitled to bend local culture to his or her tastes, and a plain old immigrant is any non-missionary person not entitled to do so. So basically a missionary is an immigrant who auto-exempts himself or herself from the duty (as you see it) to assimilate. This goes to show that the missionary position is not only boring but also sometimes wrong.
  4. A question, James: What culture did the early colonial settlers discover in America, and do you believe they were bound to assimilate into it? And did they?
  5. James, my man: What do you mean by “a Japanese robe wandering business hours and afro or the henya above Spanish words”? Whatever you mean by that cluster of words, that is a party I want to be at, and because I live in New York, I can be at such a party tonight if I wish.
  6. In closing, I just want to say, James, that, as an immigrant, you are and always will be welcome in my America. I’m a Cleveland Indian by birth. You are a Nerima Yankee, one could say. I have hope for you and me. And I have hope for America, because as I browsed the Facebook page of the man behind the venom, I noticed the absolute strangest thing:

I will take your desire for my friendship — still not revoked by you, still not answered by me at this hour — as a sign of how the republic we share might get out of this dark, sad moment: speak our truths, listen to each other’s, heal, repair, rectify, restore, and maybe, after all that, become friends.


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If your Spiritual Path feels Ugly, you’re on the Right Track

Via Cheryl Muir –

When we think of spirituality, many images come to mind—open fields, rolling waves, light and airy meditation rooms.

Often, they are Instagram-worthy: everything looks shiny and aspirational, and we post them with wild abandon.

And there’s nothing wrong with wanting to inspire people.

But here’s what I know to be true: spiritual growth can be ugly. It can hurt like hell. And at times, it can feel like we’re moving backwards.

We’ve all heard the old adage, “feeling is healing.” And it’s true. In fact, a good friend of mine shared a maxim about our emotions a while back and it punched me right in the gut in the best possible way. Here’s what my wise friend shared:

“The good thing about sobriety is you get your feelings back. The bad thing about sobriety is you get your feelings back.”

We don’t have to be in recovery to understand this, as the same sentiment applies to spirituality and personal growth, too. (And heck, aren’t we all in recovery from something?)

As an empathic woman, I feel deeply. If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you also have this gift. It can be an incredible asset. But it has a flip side—when old feelings resurface, they knock us on our backs.

I experienced this recently when some of my old hurts came back. They blindsided me. I could have pushed through them, but I listened. I allowed myself to fall. To cry. To feel. Intuitively, I knew I had pushed some hurts deep down and now they were bubbling to the surface like a previously dormant volcano.

I gave myself permission to lie in bed, rest and let the tears fall. At the time, it felt awful. Ugly. It hurt so much that it seemed like I was physically injured. But after two days of sitting in this feeling, I realized it was no longer my home.

And I chose to rise up.

That sounds terribly romantic, doesn’t it?

Here’s what it actually looked like: Setting my alarm and waking up early. Working out. Showering and dressing in clothes that made me feel good. Styling my hair and putting on makeup. Smiling when I didn’t feel like it, and listening to music that lifted my mood and raised my vibration.

It wasn’t easy—at all. It took a Herculean effort to change my mood. It would have been so much easier to stay in bed and wallow in it. There is a fine line between giving ourselves permission to feel old hurts and heal them versus allowing ourselves to fester. Because that feeling was almost like a security blanket—warm, fuzzy and familiar. Upon closer inspection, that metaphorical blanket was disgusting—old, dirty and overused. I chose to throw it out, to get up and change how I was responding.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing, isn’t it? Because after that setback, I’m pleased to report that my life and business have grown exponentially. Life looks virtually unrecognizable, and I feel new. Transformed. Upgraded.

Often, a breakdown leads to a breakthrough.

And sometimes, spiritual growth isn’t all sunflowers and cornfields. Sometimes, it’s doing the ugly cry in bed on a Wednesday afternoon.

Feeling is healing, my friends. Feel it. Heal what hurts. And when we’ve healed, we have to make that decision to get out of bed and show the world who we have become.


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Turning old smartphones into anti-burglary devices and baby monitors

With 1bn smartphones lying idle in the US, meet the companies repurposing old smartphones into sensors and security cameras in a bid to tackle e-waste

old smartphone repurposed as video monitoring device
Manything turns old smartphones into video monitoring devices. Photograph: Manything

If Jim Poss hadn’t dropped his phone in the bath while bathing his son, he might never have hit upon the idea for his business. While researching a cheap replacement for his waterlogged iPhone, he had an epiphany: the used phones sold online for $60 (£45) or less could be repurposed as Internet of Things sensors and used to form flexible, low-cost security and vehicle telematics systems.

That idea quickly evolved into Modifi, a remote sensing platform that can capture everything from travel statistics to criminals. “There are around one billion idle smartphones in America,” says Poss, who also founded Big Belly Solar, which makes smart solar-powered trash compactors. “They’re just sitting in drawers at the moment destined for landfill. Yet they’ve got a GPS, two cameras, a microphone, a processor and five or six other useful sensors.”

Modifi works by converting used phones into low-cost sensor systems for use in security, fleet management and home monitoring. Users can create customised sensor alerts and mount the repurposed phones, which Modifi calls Mods, on a variety of surfaces – including doors, dashboards, walls and windows.

Mods can detect light, sound, movement, magnetic fields and power outages. If movement is detected in a retail store after a certain hour, for instance, the Mod can automatically start recording video and alert the owner of the building via a text message.

The company is currently working with three clients, which between them manage 8.1m “end-points” (networked devices). In the US, Poss estimates that Modifi’s systems could eventually account for over 110m end-points, “a seemingly large number until you recognise that this is only about 10% of the smartphones left idle or trashed annually”.

A Modifi device at a construction site
A Modifi device at a construction site monitors movement, decibels and light changes and provides alerts to site managers. Photograph: Modifi

Poss is hopeful that manufacturers and carriers begin to transition from an equipment-based economic model to a service-based one. “Instead of solving a thousand different problems with a thousand different devices, we’re taking this one hugely versatile smart device and giving people the opportunity to configure it as they want,” says Poss.

Although legislation imposes recovery and recycling targets on the EU IT and electronics industry, with penalties for companies who fail to comply, e-waste is still one of the fastest growing waste streams in the world. According to the UN environment programme, 41m tonnes of e-waste was produced in 2014. Up to90% was illegally dumped or exported to developing countries where devices are often improperly dismantled, causing health problems for workers and local communities.

Trade-in schemes run by phone manufacturers and carriers allow people to claw back some value from their old device; the higher-value handsets are refurbished and resold, while those of little market value are recycled. But globally only 12% of smartphone upgrades involve older devices being sold or traded for a new one. The Green Alliance estimates that up to 125m smartphones(pdf) are languishing in UK householder’s lofts, drawers and cupboards.

Modifi is just one of a number of organisations aiming to tackle this growing e-waste problem by repurposing unwanted smartphones. UK- and US-based company Manything has created a free app to repurpose old phones as wireless security cameras for home use.

Joanna Santander, head of business development for Manything, says it wanted to provide an ever-improving video monitoring solution without requiring customers to invest in new hardware. “Even if you’ve got an old iPhone 3GS with a cracked screen that’s never going to be worth selling, you can still put that to good use as a Manything camera,” she explains.

Manything has more than 500,000 registered users, and more than 15 years worth of video sessions are securely recorded every day – just under a quarter of YouTube’s daily video upload rate of 66 years per day. Several burglaries have been thwarted, according to the company. However conversations with smartphone manufacturers haven’t been forthcoming, says Santander.

The array of potential uses for unwanted phones is still being explored. Phonvert, an open-source project started by students at Keio University and Tokyo University in Japan, began when the students developed code to reuse the sensors on old smartphones, which attracted the interest of a couple of investors. “We were trying to start a business, but along the way we realised that both we and the world would benefit more if we made the project open-source,” says Tomo Kihara, one of the students working on Phonvert.

Currently, the team is focused on building a community around the idea and encouraging them to come up with new applications for repurposed phones. More than 300 ideas from around the world have already been put forward, often reflecting needs specific to each country. “For example, in countries like Finland where the ageing population is a problem, an idea to detect whether an elderly people had fallen was popular. While in developing countries around South Asia there were ideas for phonverting for education – ie to use retired smartphones as textbooks for children, since books are often very expensive.”


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Free-range meat can be worse for the planet than long-haul flights

by Katherine Martinko 

lamb dinner

CC BY 2.0 Jeremy Noble

George Monbiot wades into the meat-and-climate debate by explaining how ‘ethically’ raised meat is actually worse for the planet than those raised in confined spaces. It leaves omnivores in an awkward position.

When Guardian columnist George Monbiot modifies his long-standing “flying is dying” stance to say that something else is even worse for the planet, we should really pay attention. In an article called “Warning: Your festive meal could be more damaging than a long-haul flight,” Monbiot wades into the sticky world of meat production.

He writes: “A kilogram of beef protein reared on a British hill farm can generate the equivalent of 643 kg of carbon dioxide. A kilogram of lamb protein produced in the same place can generate 749 kg. One kilo of protein from either source, in other words, causes more greenhouse gas emissions than a passenger flying from London to New York… You could exchange your flight for an average of 3 kg [6.6 lbs] of lamb protein from hill farms in England and Wales. You’d have to eat 300 kg [660 lbs] of soy protein to create the same impact.”

The uncomfortable essence of his article is that so-called ‘ethical’ meat production – where animals roam the hills and fields freely and have a fairly decent life, aside from the fact that they’re eventually killed for someone’s dinner – is actually much worse for the planet than confined feeding operations, even though a life of confinement is far more unpleasant for the animals themselves.

The problem lies in the fact that grazing animals wreaks environmental havoc, while using vast tracts of land very inefficiently.

“To produce one lamb you need to keep a large area of land bare and fertilised. The animal must roam the hills to find its food, burning more fat and producing more methane than a stalled beast would… Nitrates and phosphates sometimes pour from their paddocks and into the rivers. Unless they are kept at low densities or on well-drained fields, pigs tend to mash the soil: a friend describes some of the farming he’s seen as opencast pig mining.”

This leaves omnivores in an awkward dilemma. Many justify meat consumption by buying free-range animals that have “lived a good life.” But if it’s really so bad for the environment as Monbiot argues, then it’s impossible to continue supporting that industry. On the other hand, I suspect many omnivores (myself included) would neverfeel comfortable buying meat from animals raised in CAFOs (confined animal feeding operations), force-fed grain, and given regular doses of antibiotics, no matter how much better for the planet it may be.

Monbiot says he is not anti-farmer, but unable to ignore the facts:

“The Arcadian idyll, a conception of the shepherd’s life (in both Old Testament theology and Greek pastoral poetry) as the seat of innocence and purity, a refuge from the corruption of the city, resonates with us still. But in the midst of a multifaceted crisis – the catastrophic loss of wildlife, devastating but avoidable floods, climate breakdown – entertaining this fantasy looks to me like a great and costly indulgence.”

What should we do? It’s the same old message that TreeHugger has been preaching for years now, but it’s more important than ever. Eat way less meat, or cut it out all together. Monbiot suggests saving the indulgence for festive occasions like Christmas, and then choosing wisely. Yes, it may affect the variety of your diet, but the sacrifice is worth it to preserve the great variety of life.

Tags: Agriculture | Animals | Animal Welfare | Diet | George Monbiot | Global Warming Causes


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