Showing posts from January, 2015

Fighting The Real War On Terror

I always want to get out of the Washington bubble and learn what real people think, so to speak. At times, I'll see sentiments like this:
"The events you see happening in this world are not as they appear. A small group of rich people controls the world, and what they want is a one-world government." 
Basically it's a conspiracy theory. If you add the words "Jewish bankers" after "rich" and subtract "people," the theory becomes an anti-Semitic stereotype.
As it happens, I came across the following sentiment the other day, which relates somewhat to the first one. 
"The only thing preventing world domination by the wealthy is religion."
And another concept:
"There will be a war in the End of Days, eventually followed by Judgment Day."
In my mind I put these ideas together. 
Absent Divine intervention, it is clear that we are headed toward some kind of explosive conflict in the world.
But G-d always creates a method by which we c…

An Oldie But A Goodie - "CBP 101," Circa 2007

Stumbled across this presentation I did many years ago...don't know who posted it online:

PPT – CBP 101 PowerPoint presentation | free to view

Let Us Remember - Then Let Us Forget

Auschwitz memorial services are about remembering. Those who forget the past are doomed to see it repeat itself.
But the ultimate point of remembering is forgetting. We want to move on with life and deal with one another in perfect faith, like innocent children who haven't yet learned the terrible ways of the world.
G-d teaches us through example. We ask for forgiveness and are forgiven. It is as if nothing happened.
Unfortunately some people distort G-d's ways out of evil intentions. They deny the past and pretend all is well in the present.
Think critically, and do not be fooled.
___ All opinions my own.

Text of New Cyber-Vandalism Response Toolkit

Disclaimer: This toolkit is only a collection of suggested best practices. No warranty is expressed or implied.

Cyber security for social media should be the #1 concern of anyone communicating online in this way. A federal working group has developed an outstanding guide, useful to any public or private organization. I want to help promote this message and so am cutting and pasting the text below; also posted it to SlideShare. You can customize it for your organization.

DigitalGov's Justin Herman brought the federal working group together; congrats to him and the team: Alla Goldman, Information Sharing Environment, Office of the Director of National Intelligence; Ashley Wichman, GSA; Dan Kenny, GSA Emerging Leader Program; me (I work at NIST); David Hamm, State of Minnesota; Debra Harris, Defense Finance and Accounting Services; Jacob Parcell, GSA; Jessica Milcetich,; Jordan Higgins, Defense Intelligence Agency; Jody Bennett, Department of State; Justin Herman, GSA; Kat Mull…

10 Reasons Not To Miss "The Interview"

Weekends are for movies and if you don't know what to watch the next time you power up Netflix on your Roku, I would highly recommend "The Interview."

Unfortunately the marketing of this movie was so bad that they almost totally ruined my interest in it. But I should have known that if Seth Rogen and James Franco were involved it was going to be a certain kind of funny, and it absolutely was.

Here are 10 reasons you absolutely have to see this movie:

James Franco's portrayal of the host, which is so funny and over-the-top it makes the movie.The screenplay, which is hilarious - these lines are so rich I can't quote them enough: "America tried that before and it didn't work." "That doesn't mean we shouldn't do it again."The intelligent worldview of the movie, which is that wars are just as much fought through communications as guns, that both are equally powerfulThe plot, which allows us to talk about real issues by combining reality an…

Keeping Silent Will Not Save You

More than once I've used my blog posts to be a flaming kiss-ass. I'm not proud to admit it, and it's not that I do it intentionally, but it happens. Inevitably my misuse of my G-d given talent backfires, because someone always calls me out on it.
"You should stick to blogs on branding," a commenter recently said, "because when you write about Obama [note: I work for the federal government and have a vested interest in not getting my ass handed to me on a silver platter] you always put your foot in your mouth."

Specifically objecting to a previous post imploring the President to fight radical Islamic terrorism. Where I said:

"Only you, only you can do this."

The comment: "No, only G-d can do this. With your words you blaspheme G-d. Change it, so you won't be punished."

Fine, but I'm still gonna write about the stuff I'm writing about, I thought.

Even though I'm afraid.

I am afraid, like many Jews are afraid.

The nail that stic…

How To Fire All The Bureaucrats

Today I had to take care of a small errand and was struck by the inefficiency with which government works:

Before walking in the door, I couldn't figure out which instructions applied to me. I could barely even find them on the website.The appointment system was telephone-based, a frustrating waste of time.Once in the appointment all the forms were paper-based and an ink signature was required.I am familiar with the government tendency to resist change and avoid new technology until it's absolutely impossible to ignore it.

Nobody wants to take a risk and get into trouble.Nobody wants to get automated out of a job.Nobody wants to collaborate if that means losing their power.These are natural human tendencies and I totally understand them. But they're not productive for our society. In the example above:

How much time is going to get wasted manually reviewing and transferring the paper data to a computer system? How many dead PDFs are we going to create and then try to integrat…

The Brand Under Which We Fight

This is the United States of America, the greatest country in the world, the country that stands for freedom.

You can be born in this country or immigrate here and you are still equally American.Blonde, blue-eyed does receive no technical favor.Your gender may be male, female, a combination or a voluntary migration from one to the other.Your political views are tolerated even if the main agenda item on your platform is how to build a better taco.You can pray standing up, sitting down or never.You can wear unusual clothes and stand up and sing the National Anthem in a football stadium.You are free to live wherever you want, among whoever you want.
This is the greatest country in the world - the greatest civil society ever known. The grandest vision of humanity living side-by-side in total difference, yet not forcing homogeneity.

Other countries hold different distinctions. Israel is the Holy Land, at least to me; other countries may be more socially conscious, more innovative, more educat…

A Personal Reflection This Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Today is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day 2015 and I should be talking about his vision.

But instead I am thinking more about Malcolm X.

Both men were powerful civil rights leaders. But each espoused a different approach; whereas MLK believed in diplomacy, Malcolm X stood for directness.

(Including his open belief that Jews control the economy and are exploitive of African-Americans, for which he was called anti-Semitic, a charge he denied.)

From The Autobiography of Malcolm X: "A man who stands for nothing will fall for anything.""I have been always a man who tries to face facts, and to accept the reality of life as new experience and new knowledge unfolds it." Malcolm X was a Muslim and it is his pure sensibility I think we need today to confront the global war against radical Islamic terrorism. He promoted tolerance as a general principle: "I am not a racist. I am against every form of racism and segregation - EVERY form of discrimination. I believe in human beings, an…

"Labor Day," A Chick Flick On Steroids (Filed Under: Kate Winslet)

Last night I had the chance to pick the movie (Netflix) and I went to the "Romantic Movies" section and Andy went "Oh, no...." It was either this or "Jayne Eyre" and I went with this because KATE WINSLET. I say to Andy, "That's Kate Winslet, she was in 'Titanic,'" prompting Andy to say "I hated Titanic" but then, kindly "you did sit through the Zombie show." The movie started off kind of slow but then again as Andy said, "high budget" and I got the feeling it was going to be good. IT WAS GOOD. IT WAS TOTALLY GOOD. I guarantee there is going to be a night when you're sitting around, feeling extremely female and feminine and romantic and womanly and you'll want to watch a truly quality movie on the caliber of "The Notebook" that makes you cry your bleeping head off. WATCH THIS! Andy was making jokes throughout the first part, i.e. "Look I've fallen in love with a criminal" and I w…

Real Branding Is For Worker Bees

The fantasy and fallacy of courses in brand is that consultants work like The Wizard of Oz. You think we stand behind a curtain, flipping switches and pulling levers, cogitating and ruminating. Until, like a pregnant woman, our water breaks. And a fully-formed, living, breathing brand pops out into the world, ready to "rock and roll" and accumulate more and more equity on behalf of its creator. Ha! The truth is, we consultants - client-side or consulting-side - are nothing more than teeny, free-floating space stations in an infinitesimal galaxy of stakeholder planets. And there are many planets in your galaxy, even more than you know. Every time a resident of one of them utters a breath, your brand has been not just represented but re-created. It's like a giant game of Operator. And the impact is magnified by every action these stakeholders take. Remember, it is the experience that defines the brand image in the customers' mind - talk is cheap, actions matter and people j…

The Spitball (a family memory)

A classic Andy Blumenthal story. He wrote about it in his blog but I have to tell you how it went down from where I sat.
We go into the pizza place last night for fries. A bunch of teenagers sits right next to us and they are normal kids - loud.
All of a sudden a spitball lands on Andy's ear. You should have seen his expression, it was like WTF, and I could see he was a little bit startled. He picks up the spitball and we just look at it. 
I'm thinking, uh-oh because if you know Andy you know that sending a spitball his way is not a good idea.
I go "don't worry, they're just kids," etc. typical mom trying to keep the peace.
Suddenly he picks up one of my French fries and his hand is kind of wobbling...before I know it he lets his hand fly and the fries have landed in the kids' camp.
One of the girls in the gang must have said something, I didn't hear it or see her expression, but the Mashgiach (kosher supervisor - who is a kid himself not much older than th…

An Open Letter to President Obama: On Fighting Radical Islamic Terrorism - What I Learned From A Bedbug

Dear Mr. President,

I did not want to write this letter.

For one thing, I am a civil servant, and I don't want to cause any trouble. For another, it's a heavy and upsetting topic, and I'd much rather kick back and relax on the weekend. Here's a third: I doubt my qualifications to speak to you. I'm not smart enough, not educated enough, and you have experts all around you, and updates 24/7/365. And finally, I am a Jew, so you might think that my agenda is only to help my people.

I will reach out to you anyway, Sir. In all these capacities, as the total person that I am. It is you who has the power and influence to fight back, and I believe the American people are waiting for you to do it.

Here is a little bit about me, Sir. My Hebrew name is Hadassah - born in 1971, the same year Starbucks was founded, on the Fast of Esther.

The Fast of Esther is associated with the Jewish holiday of Purim. It happened roughly 350 BCE, in Persia. Around that time, a Jewish man named Mord…

How the U.S. Should Respond to "Radical Islamic" Terrorism

"Radical Islamic" in quotes, because this is not true Islam, but rather a modern, manufactured, extremist and insane ideology that really exists to repudiate the lure of Western culture. Focusing on these moronic types because they seem to be everywhere causing trouble in the world, whether it's knocking out Twitter feeds, kidnapping and raping women for sport, or cutting off people's heads as trophies. Because they have targeted both America and Israel, the land of my birth and allegiance, and the land of my nation, which I love. And because we can learn some very specific lessons from using them as an example of how the U.S. messes up when dealing with terrorists generally. In this way: We are overly, slavishly, sickeningly polite, when a straight-on frontal attack is what's called for. We think we are so smart, responding with "quiet" moves like sanctions and the like. We've become so politically correct about things, so Ivy-league educated, so postmo…


That elusive, incredibly valuable quality we call a "leadership brand." Really, what we mean is "charisma." What is it? Who has it? How do you get it? Can it be taught, or bought? Or is it something you're born with? As a little girl I used to watch Sunday morning political TV. I remember how the panel went at it on that show,The McLaughlin Group. And they would vote on the issues throughout the show, and at the end. "Issue 1!" John McLaughlin, the host would say, and Eleanor Clift and John Buchanan would go at it. "Issue 2!" then round and round. Always McLaughlin would have the deciding vote, and always he'd be right on in my mind...because you know what? He was electable! Even though McLaughlin was a moderator, asking for the expert opinion of others, he was the real leader. He had that secret ingredient. Very few people have true charisma, which is why so few are electable. In fact it is not something you can teach, buy or acquire. It is so…

The Real Threat To Israel's National Security (A Comment On Ridley Scott's "Exodus")

Ridley Scott's "Exodus" may not be historically accurate on all counts. It is not supposed to be, and in changing the facts a little bit, it is extraordinarily effective. Whether you're Jewish or not it is impossible to escape the power of this film artistically, spiritually, and religiously.

Without giving away too much, the essence of the movie is Moshe's character. Christian Bale convincingly plays a man who is settled and happy in Egypt's royal palace at first, who thrashes and flails at the mere thought of being a Jew by birth. Yet by the end he finds ultimate meaning in leading the people - "my people" he now says - to the Promised Land.

We are introduced to G-d through the person of a child. Bale argues with Him forcefully and repeatedly throughout the movie: We're supposed to understand that Moshe has his own mind, wants others to do the same, and comes to G-d out of his own choosing.

G-d honors this, but He says to Moshe - don't write …