End It Don’t Trend It

END_IT_logo

In an imperfect world, there is perfect opportunity for social good that stretches across borders and unites communities the world over. The best way to spreading a message, and creating social good, is to use the channels available from Facebook and Twitter to Instagram and Pinterest.

The platforms offer access to millions of potential supporters, and that’s the beauty of the social good movement. I feel that most campaigns have the best intentions, and I fully support the End It Movement which inspired this post.

For those of you that don’t know today, February 27, has been deemed Shine a Light on Slavery Day; an effort to put an end to a $32 billion industry that has trapped 27 million people. Of that number, two children a day are added to the statistic, and regardless of culture, background or lack of government concern, the continuation of sex trafficking and slavery is unacceptable.

Screen Shot 2014-02-27 at 2.15.25 PM

But here’s where the problem lies.

There has been an incredible outpouring of support, and the use of hashtags and keyword searches can prove it, but there’s a trick to social media, and I think social good falls victim to it everyday.

Again, I support the End It Movement, but I unfortunately feel that many of the red “X’s” appearing in social media streams around the world are being used for a different reason. Yes, each “X” is one more set of people potentially influenced, but with the way the hashtag works, each person that participates is seen “doing good.”

In my opinion, that’s not enough. Yes, in theory each “X” and each hashtag puts viewers one step closer to learning more about the movement, but at the same time the hashtag gets one step closer to trending, which burgeoning social media influencers constantly struggle to stay ahead of.

What I’m trying to say is this:

Please participate in the movement to end slavery around the world, but do it because you want to end it, not trend it

Social good is a beautiful thing, but saturating social media feeds runs the risk of creating indifference about topics, and we have to ensure that the conversation continues beyond the sharing of a picture.

Do good and do it with good intentions. For more information and to see how you can contribute to the End It Movement, I encourage you to look at their website and see how you can make a difference.

Screen Shot 2014-02-27 at 2.14.52 PM

Images and information found in the End It Now Digital Toolkit.

Investing In The Future: The Greatest Paradox

If you went to college, thought about college, or encouraged your own child to go to college, then you’re probably guilty of saying that you were making an investment in the future. Considering that any investment is an investment in the future, the statement alone seems silly, but that’s beside the point.

What has me thinking about the phrase though, and more so the paradox that accompanies it, is spurred from a comment that I heard over the weekend, when an “Economic Analyst” said that the problem with windmills is that they are:

eyesores.

Really?!

You’re an economic analyst, that speaks on national television, and the worst thing about wind energy is that the structure producing the energy isn’t aesthetically pleasing?

Offshorewindpark Burbo Bank
Image: Siemens UK

That brings me to the main issue: in an age when we are more than comfortable telling students to pursue academic careers and higher education, to make investments in their futures; why, as a society, can’t we muster the confidence to invest in energy technology for a more stable future?

According to the American Wind Energy Association, the market supports 80,000 full-time jobs, and considering that number is projected to have a potential to reach 500,000 jobs by 2030, then we should be doing everything we can to encourage the growth of wind energy.

Do I understand every little issue? No.

But I do understand that the change won’t happen over night. I do understand that in a country that isn’t too focused on the manufacturing jobs that have been lost, we turn old factories into turbine producing factories. Hell, power those factories with wind power and it’s a double-whammy.

I also understand, however, that the reason we aren’t pushing harder for wind power is because we’re comfortable. Yeah, I get it, when it comes to where you get your power from, there aren’t a whole lot of choices, like here in the city we’re stuck with ConEd and if we lived in North Carolina we’d be stuck with Duke Power. But that’s the real problem. When there aren’t options we don’t have to make decisions, and let’s face it, American’s aren’t decision making people.

Decisions confuse us, we shake and stutter, and ultimately end up with nothing because we don’t know how to choose. Henry Ford knew it when he said that customers could have any color Model T they wanted as long as it was black.

Ultimately, that is our barrier with alternative energy. We like to talk about making investments, all of which are meant to enhance the future, but none of us want to make the decision that makes it all possible. We have a system, it isn’t great but it works, and even if we’re slowly poisoning ourselves, our grandparents started it so we’re more than ok with it too.

In 2030, I’ll be 40 years old. Like I said, the projection is that wind power will produce 500,000 jobs by then. I think it’s time we stopped investing in the generic future, and start investing in the creation of a better future. Why? Because if nothing else we deserve it.

Joke of the Day: Affordable Healthcare

I’ve avoided any commentary on the Affordable Care Act mainly because I don’t quite understand the nuances that are supposed to be the keys to the whole system.

What I do understand though is this: Nobody knows what they’re doing.

Again, I’m not totally sure of how to make the system work, but there are people that do. Unfortunately, I don’t think those folks have the connections to Washington that seem to be garnering the employment of every failed level of building affordable health care.

It would be easy to say that I’m just Obama bashing, but I empathize with the fact that he isn’t the one writing code, nor is he really the person making the hiring decisions, but he did accept his role as figurehead and therefore should be held accountable for the decisions being made under him. If nothing else, flex a little bit of that influence that he seemed to have in the last two elections.

What brings me to the state I’m in at this point, is the fact that, to me, instead of addressing the problem swiftly, the government is too concerned with saying sorry and trying not to look like the bad guy. Personally I’d rather them say nothing until the site is up, and functional, before we have any more statements like the one above about fumbling when it comes to the roll out.

At a certain point, words don’t count for anything and action is all that matters. I really wish that everyone had recognized that a little sooner, but there’s no need to live in the past.

Now, as far as a solution.


Video: CBS

Gee, that’s weird, programmers, that write code, that were able to create a functional healthcare website on less than a shoestring budget…

I don’t know about you, but that leads me to believe that there is some serious gap between Washington and reality, if we live in a time when no money can be spent on a system that works, while the government hemorrhages money on a site that has been nothing but bad.

For the most part, we all know that there is a ton of tech talent in California, but it’s also in New York and Philly, so why don’t we start asking those guys and girls for help? I’m baffled by the fact that we have all of these brilliant minds, but Washington can’t seem to wrap their heads around the concept that there are people that do this for a living.

Like I said when I started, I don’t understand the nuances and the processes that go into making the Affordable Care Act an actual functioning thing, but I seriously doubt that Washington understands it either, and for that, I feel every American is entitled to a little bit of disappointment.

Bill de Blasio: In the City That Never Sleeps

I start every morning with New York 1, it may be one of my favorite morning news programs.

The simple news channel is one of my favorite perks of living in the city, but with the NYC elections coming tomorrow, discussions of the mayoral candidates to replace Michael Bloomberg has been the topic of almost every discussion.

I’ll start by saying I’m not a fan of the Republican candidate Joe Lhota, but I have one outstanding issue with the Democratic candidate Bill de Blasio.

He’s lazy.

preview
Photo Courtesy of Associated Press

Apparently, de Blasio was late to an 11:30 meeting Saturday morning. Why? According to Politicker, because he had received a phone call at 5 earlier that morning and that threw off his sleep cycle.

Really?!

How many of you are hard working employees that have to be to work before 8 or 9? Why should a candidate for mayor be allowed to consistently show up late to functions that are for him?

New York is supposed to be the city that never sleeps, but a mayor that likes to stay up late and can’t get up in the morning doesn’t sound like the type of person that is going to be concerned with anyone much beyond himself.

I’m still trying to wrap my head around New York politics, but I don’t think location changes what is acceptable and what is just pure lazy.

The Cursed Double Standard

680ecc1e4e3011e28dfe22000a9e288f_7

The one skill that every person seems to have mastered is the double standard.

Who has taken that skill to the next level?

Politicians, especially of the American type, seem to be the best at speaking out of every side of their mouths, but they never know what to do when someone calls them on it. Today’s example came from the ultimate slap in the face, Syria’s Bashar al-Assad.

According to Hypervocal, Assad was busy denying the current Syrian civil war when he pulled out this gem:

What did you do in Los Angeles in the ’90s when you have rebels? Didn’t you send your army? You did.

In no way am I defending Assad, nor am I condoning any particular uses of military force in certain situations, but what I do support is taking a closer look at the way we as Americans believe that there can be no wrong in the world. It is a hopeful way of life, but a naive one to think that no other countries are allowed to make mistakes, despite the plethora that we are still dealing with from our own past.

Again, gassing your own citizens shouldn’t be tolerated, but we do have to be aware that the skeletons in our own closet like to be seen, and we’ve got the biggest closet on the block.

For more of the awkward moments with Assad, check out the highlights of his interview with ABC News.

It’s Not Conceding When You Lose

IMG_0575

As many of you have seen, election season is in full swing in New York City.

As I drank my coffee and looked for topics to cover, Mayoral candidate Bill Thompson’s concession speech was aired and it got me thinking.

How dumb is it to announce that a candidate is conceding when they know they’ve lost?

Thompson, who promised that he would not concede until all of the votes were counted, announced that he would pull out and back the now Democratic candidate Bill deBlasio. The problem with the idea of Thompson conceding though, is the fact that he wasn’t even close to deBlasio’s vote count.

According to the New York Times, deBlasio had 40.3% of the votes in the primary and Thompson only had 26.2. Obviously Thompson has lost, it’s not conceding when you’ve lost.

Conceding would infer that Thompson was yielding or surrendering to deBlasio, but he isn’t. He lost. I don’t know how else to phrase it.

The reason I offer this opinion, is because the same thing happens in national elections. Hillary did it, Santorum did it, every loser candidate does it. It may seem that there is dignity in offering an acceptance of your loss, but there’s no dignity left in politics. So I implore you to listen to what your candidates are saying, what they are actually doing as their campaigns rev up and die down, because so many of the formalities are simply redundant and pointless.

As is a normality on my Facebook page, I’ll leave you with this:

It’s time to grow up America! #Wilber2028