Children the victims of a stalling Legislature; fix education-funding crisis now

4717403c-c622-11e5-91a1-8b45811710be-1020x655The Seattle Times Editorial Board posted an article about how “Washington’s state Senate is pursuing wise accountability measures as it works on the state’s education-funding crisis. But it cannot allow the fix to be delayed further, shortchanging another entering class of students.”

People ask what we can do about this: write letters to your legislature or even more simply, vote. Vote for individuals who will make education a priority.

Living Under the Sword of ISIS in Syria

15hisham-blog427The New York Times featured an article about the civilians who are living under the threat of ISIS. The sentiments expressed in the excerpt below are important to read and understand for anyone who chooses to make a comment about the experience of the refugees or the Syrians still living in their home state.

“…But those people living under Islamic State rule are the ones suffering the most from its brutality…

The Islamic State gives people one choice: Escape your poverty by fighting for us. The world has to offer people living under the Islamic State better choices. Stop the Assad government from bombing markets and bridges, and its Russian allies from bombing civilian infrastructure, as happened recently when a Russian airstrike reportedly hit a water main, cutting off water for the entire city.

Most of all, don’t dismiss as terrorists the citizens of occupied cities just because they were too poor to leave when the Islamic State took over. The people under this occupation present the best hope for destroying the jihadists. Without their support, the Islamic State can hardly be defeated.”

Resolving the Paradox of Group Creativity

jan16-25-000022905520-1200x675Harvard Business Review shared insightful comments on the virtues and dangers of group creativity/brainstorming. What is commonly thought as a benefit to workplace progress, can actually limit the unique thoughts produced by regularly creative individuals.

My personal work experience mimics the sentiments expressed in this article in many ways, particularly when it comes to my graphic design projects. The more conceptual feedback I receive initially on a given project can drastically limit my creative process and the end result is rarely something I am proud of.

On that same token, there are times that I would never have thought of a product had there not been any group creativity. Some direction or inspiration is always needed.

Victory Lap? Final State Of The Union Speeches Reflect And Look Ahead

ap_600107054_wide-4e1663adafb87a608eef33f330ef6afc40f60a81-s800-c85In anticipation of President Obama’s final SOTU tomorrow, NPR shares an interesting look back through American history, revealing that President Obama will be the 5th president to present a SOTU to a joint member of congress in his 8th year. 5th seems low you say? That’s what I thought too… take a listen or read along and see which other presidents enjoyed this special privilege.

Book Report: The Presidents Club

61iyNBdczoLThis is a highly compelling book that I would recommend to anyone, those interested in politics and history or simply someone looking for a good read. The common knowledge that many if not most people hold about presidents are generally limited to the hits, the crises, the scandals and the triumphs. This book illustrates the multiple angles of the relationships strategic and otherwise of the presidents before, during, and post office. This exposé reveals an interesting mosaic of presidents in a light that humanizes them.

“Only the president himself can know what his real pressures and his real alternatives are.” – JFK

The Women Fighting Boko Haram

Okeowo-The-Women-Fighting-Boko-Haram-690x460-1450459294“Fatima Muhammed had taken a quick break from the canteen she runs in Maiduguri, a rambling city in northeastern Nigeria, but she was still fielding calls from demanding customers. Dressed in a maroon hijab, she would put her phone down, only to have to pick it up again a few minutes later. We were at the house of her former commander, Abba Aji Kalli, who ran a sector of the Civilian Joint Task Force (C.T.J.F.), a vigilante group battling Boko Haram, in Maiduguri and its environs. Muhammed is the sole female member of the sector, and one of less than fifty women in C.T.J.F., which is said to have about ten thousand fighters and is known for being more effective than the Army, and increasingly powerful.”

This New Yorker article highlights an interesting and powerful group of women who both inspire and fight for a better life.

The Great Melting

20160109_IRM934_1 (1)“America is unusual, both for its obsession with race and for its superb statistics. Poor countries lack the means to collect precise data, and many rich ones choose not to. Some, like France, are so high-minded that they hold race to be irrelevant; in others racial censuses smell uncomfortably like fascism. A few countries distinguish foreigners from natives, though, and there the trend is mostly the same as in America.” –The Economist

Farmers Try Political Force to Twist Open California’s Taps

testcrista-donotpub01-superJumbo testcrista-donotpub03-superJumbo

testcrista-donotpub08-superJumbo

“Few in agriculture have shaped the debate over water more than the
several hundred owners of an arid finger of farmland west of Fresno.” The battle for water in drought-stricken California is a complex issue, and this NY Times article sheds some light on voices that may normally be overlooked.