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The 2015 Rose Show

March 30, 2015

Filed under: Gardening — Tags: — admin @ 6:37 pm

I never get bored with roses.

I hope this little show explains why.

These are the first of the 2015 season in my back yard.

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Can We All Agree – 3/28/15 Edition

March 28, 2015

Can we all agree that Amanda Knox may be the most relieved person in the world right now?

Amanda Knox

Amanda Knox

Can we all agree that while there is certainly evidence of discrimination in Silicon Valley, Ellen Pao’s plight was not the right case to make the point?

Can we all agree that Indiana’s new law allowing business owners to discriminate against LGBT couples is a black eye for the state and was totally unnecessary?

Can we all agree that the latest facts surrounding crash of the Germanwings airliner are truly terrifying?

Can we all agree that Sen. Herry Reid’s decision to retire was the right move?

Can we all agree that the the House’s ability to pass a Medicare payment bill, might offer some hope for the future?

Can We All agree that trying to understand the ISIS-Houti-Yemeni-Saudi Arabian-Iranian-Iraqi battle gets more confusing (and critical) every day?

Can we all agree that keeping some US troops in Afghanistan was inevitable?

Can we all agree that Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu is the most cynical of all politicians? Making inflammatory statements before the election and then trying to disavow them weeks after his party was was re-elected.

Can we all agree that the spy vs. spy saga in the Iran nuclear talks is not really surprising.

Bowe Bergdahl

Bowe Bergdahl

Can we all agree that regardless of whether Bowe Bergdahl is a deserter or not, he should not have been left behind as the US pulled out of Afghanistan?

Can we all agree that Sen. Ted Cruz’s highly orchestrated announcement of his presidential bid rings a bit hollow?

Can we all agree that Sen. Cruz’s decision to accept coverage under the Affordable Care Act, makes a mockery of his  stated opposition – especially since he had other options?

Can we all agree that 230 White House meetings in 6 years, is a bit much for any one company, even Google?


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Can We All Agree? 3/21/15 Edition

March 21, 2015

Can we all agree that the ‘arsenic in wine’ news could win the award for bogus story of the month. Now SF lawyers are trying to make a killing off it?

Can we all agree that the last thing we want with our coffee is a conversation about race relations?Unknown

Can we all agree that a Church who tries to drown homeless people has lost its way?

Can we all agree that March Madness has lost a bit of luster? It’s big business and needs an overhaul.

Can we all agree that holding the Attorney General nomination hostage to abortion is a strategy that is doomed to failure? Just another nail in the GOP coffin.

Can we all agree that within the next five years Pete Rose will be welcomed into the Baseball Hall of Fame?

Can we all agree that we are shocked, that John Boehner is shocked that Aaron Schock resigned amid a spending scandal that has been going on for two years?

Can we all agree that until last week, none of us could have found Vanuatu on a world map?

Can we all agree that the Governor and other state agencies need to do more to convince the average California resident that the drought is serious?

Can we all agree that the GOP budget produced in the House, just shows how little they understand about governance. Even their own party in the Senate thinks it’s laughable.

Can we all agree that the Israeli election means there will be no peace in our lifetime?


Israeli’s soon to be Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Can we all agree that the explosion in new options for viewing television content is a little reminiscent of what happened when the government forced AT&T to break up? Or am I just showing my age?

Can we all agree that San Francisco’s texting controversy is shocking for the content and source of the text?

Can we all agree that Chris Borland’s decision to retire from football at 24 could signal a major change for the sport?

Can we all agree that Microsoft’s decision to put an end to Internet Explorer is a realization that they need to give up on the past and begin to innovate to stay relevant?

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Who Pays the Price?

By now Americans are aware that the products we use can come with unseen consequences. That appears to be the case for the latest smartphone you bought.

Producer Heather White introduces her film "Who Pays the Price?"

Producer Heather White introduces her film “Who Pays the Price?”

A soon to be released documentary movie, “Who Pays the Price?” tells the story of Chinese workers whose lives have been ruined by the jobs they took at factories which flaunt international standards.

Produced by Heather White, Lynn Zhang and Dal Lamagna, the film documents the plight of workers who were forced to use benzene and n-hexane to clean and mark components to smartphones and a myriad of electronic devices we use every day.

The chemicals, are well-known carcinogens and countries all over the world have agreed they should not be used without protection. But in China where they have not signed the international treaty on worker safety, the chemicals continue to be used with impunity.

The film details the life-threatening illnesses that are attributed to the chemicals and the system that has left them with no alternative to a lifetime awaiting an early death. It is a fate that many have chosen to hasten rather than be a burden on their elderly parents.

It is an indictment of both the labor practices in China, and the blind eye that consumers turn as long as they can get the toys they want.

Hospitalized workers in China, injured by unprotected chemical usage.

Hospitalized workers in China, injured by unprotected chemical usage.

“Who Pays the Price” is scheduled to be released this fall and will be the topic of a number of magazine articles later this year, so you will hear more about it I’m sure.

Heather White, a former San Francisco resident, was in the Bay Area last week, hosting a screening of a shortened version, trying to raise funds to complete the project and a planned book.

Ms White, has long been a leader in fighting for the improvement of working conditions. She founded Verite, a well-known verification company which exposed and then worked to improve the plight of workers in textile firms making products for high-end brands around the world. She has now turned her attention to the electronics industry where labor laws and unverified supply chains have made enforcement of even rudimentary standards, almost impssible.

Her goal is not to tell people to discard their smartphones or tablets, but to make them aware of the working conditions that will continue unless some public pressure is brought to bear.

Companies such as Apple and Samsung are certainly aware of what’s going on, but a complex series of factors has made them hesitant to face up to the problems. It’s easier just to deny responsibility and hope to discredit any reports that interfere with their profits.

I urge you to take a look at the trailer on the website and make a contribution or contact Ms White for more information on how we can use our technology without killing the workers that manufacture it.


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Can We All Agree? 3/14/15 edition

March 14, 2015

Can we all agree with Hillary that she made a big mistake in using a personal email address for government business?

Can we all agree that Rep. Trey Gowdy has some explaining to do since the head of the House Benghazi committee allegedly knew about the problem but did nothing until the New York Times pointed it out.

Can we agree, by the way, that Rep Gowdy, may have the worst haircut in Washington?

Rep. Trey Gowdy

Rep. Trey Gowdy

Can we all agree that the various GOP Senators, Governors and former office holders have been remarkably silent on the email issue. Could it be they did the same thing?

Can we all agree that paying up to ,000 for the Apple Watch is a bit risky in an industry that updates everything every 6 months?

Can we all agree that a 75 cent/gallon increase in California gas prices over the last month, sounds a bit fishy even with the refinery issues?

Can we all agree that something is seriously wrong with the culture at the Secret Service after two senior agents, apparently drunk, crashed a car into barriers at a White House entrance?

Can we all agree that the ‘Where’s Putin?’ game is more fun than ‘Where’s Waldo?’

Can we all agree that we are encouraged about reports that ISIS might be having some internal issues and seems to be losing steam on the battlefield?

Can we all agree that an increase in the potential for a major earthquake in California probably won’t make many folks leave town, or buy insurance?

Can we all agree that, despite this week’s violence in Ferguson, MO, the resignations of the City Manager, Judge and Police Chief, could pave the way for progress?

Can we all agree that the 7 Senators who did not sign the GOP letter to Iran’s leaders look like they made the right decision? And at least 46 who signed on, may be having second thoughts.

Can we all agree that Senator Tom Cotton who spearheaded the letter campaign, deserves all the criticism he gets? I’m with Joe Biden on this one.

 Can we all agree that, just like Hillary Clinton handed the GOP a great campaign issue, the Republicans have handed the President a huge club and asked to be beaten with it? And he’s happy to swing away. imrs.php

 Can we all agree that the administration caved in to an NRA letter writing campaign when they withdrew their request to end the sale of armor-piercing bullets? I guess you need them to hunt deer.

Can we all agree that if we can figure out a way to ship oil from Canada to New Orleans there has to be some way to ship the excess snow and water in New England out to the West Coast?

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This Year’s Rose Winner

March 13, 2015

Filed under: Gardening,Uncategorized — Tags: , , — admin @ 1:19 pm

If you follow me on Twitter (@eariess) or Instagram (eariess) you know that I’ve welcomed the first rose of the season to my garden.

This year’s winner is “Day Breaker,’ a colorful tea rose which, I

Day Breaker, 2015's first rose

Day Breaker, 2015’s first rose

suppose, was named after the red sky which warned sailors of impending storms (Red at night sailor’s delight, red in the morning sailors take warning).

Or it might be named after the bloodshot eyes left over from last night’s party. In any case case, Day Breaker is a colorful, medium sized plant, which is disease resistant and sports bright green leaves to set off the red-orange tints of the flower.

For most of you, this is already too much information, but for any garden followers, I thought you should know what you’re getting, if you run down to your local nursery to buy one.

This is the first time Day Breaker has been my earliest rose. You would think that given genetics, that the same rose would be first each year. But, I find the coveted crown seems to rotate around my garden, based on factors that I’m just beginning to understand.

Like most rosarians, I trim back my roses each January. How severely I trim them plays a role, as does the amount of water, fertilizer, and sun. Since I try to treat every rose equally, I’m pretty convinced the trimming techniques must be the deciding factor, although I think I ply my shears with equanimity.

Last year the first rose to bloom was Gertrude Jekyll, a pink/lavender specimen named for a rather famous, horticulturalist and designer from England. In other years, Living Easy has been first, but the truth is, I don’t know what factors lead a specific rose to out-bloom any of the 100 plantsI have.

I just know that my wife and I delight in the first rose, and can’t wait for the show that will surely follow.

As they show off I’ll show you a few.

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Can We All Agree? 3/8/15

March 8, 2015

A shortened version this week. For more, follow me on twitter @eariess or now on Instagram at eariess:

Can we all agree that if Hillary didn’t keep handing the GOP issues, they’d have nothing to talk about?

Can we all agree that, despite GOP criticism, the President’s appearance in Selma was important? It was nice of the Republicans to send one ‘volunteer’ representative.

Preseident Obama marching in Selma

Preseident Obama marching in Selma

Can we all agree that Bibi must think the bulk of Americans are idiots when he tries to convince us that his speech was not ‘political.’

Can we all agree that based on this week’s episode, the GOP controlled Congress will get nothing done for the next two years?

Can we all agree that the situation in Russia gets more and more bizarre every day? Now a murder suspect has reportedly committed suicide.

Can we all agree that trying to read the Supreme Court based on the questions they ask is a bit like Kremlin-watching during the Cold War?

Can we all agree that when the Cleveland Police blame 12-year-old for his murder, at their hands, they have a credibility issue?

Can we all agree that ‘dismantling’ the Ferguson Police Department needs to start at the top?

Can we all agree that Daylight Savings Time is a misnomer and should be abolished?

Can we all agree that if you want see why Americans should be worried about the Workers Comp system, they should read this Propublica Series?

Can we all agree that when ‘good news’ on unemployment sends the stock market down, most Americans get a bit confused?

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What I learned at Wisdom 2.0

March 3, 2015

In my last post I outlined my overall view of the recently concluded Wisdom 2.0 conference in San Francisco.

I have to admit that after three days there were some valuable take aways;

I learned:

Three great tips for Karaoke (from the CEO of LinkedIn Jeff Weiner).

How NOT to connect with  tech company HR types.

Tibetan monks work on a sand sculpture at the Wisdom 2.0 conference in San Francisco

Tibetan monks work on a sand sculpture at the Wisdom 2.0 conference in San Francisco

Even when they are off, cellphones, (or weapons of mass distraction), can disrupt a conversation.

Uni-tasking will be the next big trend. (Sherry Turkle, author)

There are still people (Pico Iyer)  who do not own a cellphone and manage to navigate the world.

Conversations need at least 7 minutes before they really get down to anything substantive.

Empathy, is the real victim among young people who try to talk and text at the same time, because they never learn how to read facial expressions.

Nomophobia is the fear of being without your cellphone.

Alanis Morrisette, in addition to being a great singer, is very smart and has spent a lot of time in a therapist’s office.

Humans of New York – a website dedicated to telling the story of ordinary New Yorkers, is a fine continuation of individual story telling in the tradition of Studs Terkel.

A job may not be a career, but if you can combine them with a calling you may actually have something.

Getting rid of ‘Shoulds’ to create more room for ‘Musts’ may be the key to happiness and satisfaction.

Meditators, monks, and teaching masters have all learned that marketing is the key to spreading the word. It seems everyone now had a catch phrase to make it easier for public acceptance of their theology.

According to Mark Twain the two greatest days of your life are the day you were born and the day you discover why.

That’s really quite a bit to learn in a three day conference.

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The Wisdom 2.0 Bottom Line

March 2, 2015

I spent the last few days at the annual Wisdom 2.0 conference in San Francisco.


Michael Gervais, (left) George Mumford and Mike Robbins (right) discuss sports and psychology and the Wisdom 2.0 conference in San Francisco February 28, 2015,

Many of you have probably never heard of the event, so a little context is probably in order.

Attendance this year reached 2500 and could have gone higher if organizers had not capped it. The conference is designed as a combination celebration and support group for anyone trying to bring more:  (pick one) consciousness, gratitude, or mindfulness to technology and business.

Attendees come from all over the world, although a large percentage are from California, to hear a variety of speakers from CEO’s to human resource managers, explain how they have tried to humanize their companies and deal with the increasing demands of the ‘always on’ world.

Using mindful meditation, exhortations to be present, and a wide variety of what many might consider alternative techniques, the conference is in direct contrast to the prevailing view of corporate America as a ruthless, cut throat, bottom line, profit driven culture.

In addition to the conference presentations on everything from neuroscience to networking, there are rooms devoted to meditation, and yoga, as well as a trade show in the Inspiration Lounge.

Many sessions focus on how to live a more fulfilling and compassionate life and to make choices that leave you happier both personally and in your career.

Here you can also find the latest in relaxation and stress reduction equipment and techniques.

While you might think the principles were some import from Europe, most of the foreign attendees, are quick to note that the techniques are uniquely American, which is what draws them here.

Companies with representative include LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google, Gap and a host of others who say that recent studies have shown conclusively that promoting mindfulness and self realization in their workforce actually adds to their bottom line in  quantifiable manner.

In reality the conference is a large networking event, where like-minded folks can get together to reinforce their beliefs in hopes of connecting with someone who can help them move forward in their career.

A large percentage of the attendees are personal/executive coaches or management consultants, who are looking to make connections with those HR types from Google, Twitter, Facebook and GAP, to  improve workplace performance. Admittedly the chances are slim, but you never know.

In two days I collected a raft of business cards, and spoke with lawyers, coaches, HR managers and some old friends from the spa and yoga worlds.

My wife, who is a clinical psychologist, and attended the first Wisdom conference 6 years ago, may be a more typical participant, but she was ill over the weekend and insisted I attend.

I’ll admit I was hesitant, but after three days I was pleasantly surprised and happy I made the effort. More on some of the things I learned will come in subsequent posts.

When organizers at the opening session asked who, in the audience, was a first-time attendee, I raised my hand along with two-thirds of the crowd.

Sponsors were thrilled, saying it showed how the movement was attracting new members. But you have to think; what does it mean when attendees at previous sessions are not coming back in significant numbers?

If this were a business that had to rely on new customers for 66% of it’s profit each year, would you be optimistic?


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