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ON MY MIND….

May 29, 2013

The GOOD thing about the weather we have been having is that it has provided the  excuse for me to catch up on books and reading materials.  I am slowly savoring the articles in the summer issue of “thirty two”; “The New Next Economy” by Jessica Conrad is FILLED with good food for thought and more evidence that it is happening appeared in the STRIB today in a feature about the Pack and Give Back Project at the University that resulted in establishing the ReUse Center….more to come on this later.

PLANNED PARENTHOOD:  The Supreme Court dealt a setback yesterday to the campaign to “defund” Planned Parenthood….At issue was how far states could go to prevent indirect subsidies for abortion.

Generally, Congress forbids the spending of federal money to pay for elective abortions.  But unsatisfied, conservatives tried to push for more restrictive laws within their states and have now been denied.  Indiana’s attempt to do this was struck down by the Supreme Court  because “defunding law excludes Planned Parenthood from Medicaid for a reason unrelated to its fitness to provide medical services, violating its patients’ statutory right to obtain medical care from the qualified provider of their choice.”

Not only will that impact Arizona as well, it moves this issue back where it belongs—personal choice.  For me, that also includes a personal responsibility to scrutinize any organization I support financially.  If there is ANY evidence that the organization is attempting to deny or influence Planned Parenthood rights for any reason, they will not have my support.

DISTRUST OF AMERICANS:  Another issue to ponder is the suspension of a four-day UN polio vaccination program in Pakistan, when a female polio worker was killed.  The reason for her death?  The gunmen think the workers are US spies and that the vaccine makes people sterile.

Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria are the only three countries in the world where polio is still endemic…and yet, the world’s population continues to accelerate at unsustainable rates. So it should be apparent that sterilty from vaccination is not a concern!

So what is wrong with this picture?  Or perhaps a better question is what caused Pakistanis to think this, and what do we do to overcome it?   

A SAD STORY…of the Crystal Sugar Lockout:  I admit, I have not followed this controversial two-year fight in any detail, but the resolution peeked my interest.  After two years out of work, the striking workers accepted the original offer.  Only problem?  The original 1300 employees were reduced to 400 before they caved in.  There has to be a back story here that I am missing…what happened to the other 900?  Yes, I know, many exercised initiative and found new employment – did they find better pay, or better conditions or simply move on?  Why did it take so long to resolve?  What was the loss to not only the workers, but also the company?  We know workers held out as long as unemployment benefits were being paid – which certainly was a big investment for all parties that share those costs – even Crystal Sugar.  And if one assumes the striking workers with initiative were the ones that found a new source of employment, what did Crystal Sugar gain in the hold out? 

WALMART…one more time.  A new marketing campaign has saturated every TV channel I watch, accompanied by significant print press ads; a new head of marketing has just been announced which signals there will be more to come.  And being the anti-Walmart consumer that I am, I cannot help but question why.  I cannot believe that they just decided one day to change their ways and become cheaper and better citizens; so I am opting for the prejudiced explanation that they have suffered from some of the exposure and have now decided to get better at tapping into the average consumer gullibility as part of a new “damage control” campaign.

Just yesterday, they pleaded guilty to several federal charges (after a long argument blaming employees) to improperly handling and disposing of hazardous materials.  The fine?  $81 Million.  A drop in the bucket-hardly sufficient incentive to mend their ways.

But then, what is their incentive to change?  Their standard operating procedures that result in travesties around the world continue to be “hidden under the rug” as the money and government aid continues to flow into their coffers.  I have given up all hope that governments or consumers will ever gain the upper hand with these folks…a PERCEPTION of a bargain trumps all.

NEW TECHNOLOGY CHANGES:  Today I learned that by 2015, I will be among the minority….one more time.  PCS are diminished; I-Pads rule and tablets will take over market share – with an expected 45% growth from today to 2015.

So decisions to make.  Do I remain the dinosaur or switch?  Maybe I should start with taking advantage of a few more apps on my smartphone.  Unfortunately even that creates a little personal anxiety, so you can imagine how a second article in the STRIB featuring self-driving cars shook me up!  I definitely need to give this all more thought.  Intuitively I am perfectly happy being one of those old boomers I complain about…e-mail and phone conversations are ok with me…and yet, there is that part of me that continues to whisper…stay on the cutting edge; do not become the caricature of Boomers you so dislike and cling to 20th century technology when a whole new world lies ahead.   A dilemma, for sure!

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