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Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Notations From the Grid (Special January 2018 M-End Edition): اندیشکده سه شنبه ۲۶ دی

As we bid farewell to January 2018, our team chose a  rather "eccletic" path.   This is a program featured on Iran Farda, a Persian Internet Channel that showcases three of the leading lights of our time, Carl Sagan, Stephen Hawking & Arthur C Clarke.    The introductory comments are in Farsi by the host Moshen Sazegara--however the bulk of it is in English with Farsi Subtitles for the Farsi audience--a fascinating and illuminating look at our World.

Please enjoy!!!

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Notations From the Grid (W-End Editin): On Financial State of the Cities 2016

Truth in Accounting has published the Financial State of the Cities 2016.     Please enjoy:

Friday, January 26, 2018

Notations On Our World (Special Friday Edition): On Climate Change

We are pleased to present this courtesy of the team at the Climate Reality Project:

Learn the basics of climate change science and how you can take action.

At Climate Reality, we get a lot of questions about how the climate crisis is impacting the world we live in. Some of the most common questions have to do with the science behind why and how our climate is changing. How certain are climate scientists that climate change is real and caused by human activity? How do we know? Why should we care and what can we do?
In our Climate Crisis 101 e-book, we teach you the basics of climate science and explain how you can take action today.
The simple fact is that the climate crisis throws natural systems out of balance, and is affecting the health and livelihoods of families around the world. It’s a reality felt by many, and it's important to tell this story in a way that sticks.
- Your friends at Climate Reality
Government Executive used the updated plans, as well as those submitted in 2015 or executed during the shutdown in 2013, to provide a full picture of what percentage of their workforces agencies are planning to furlough. Here are the furlough rates for most large agencies:

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Notations On Our World (Weekly Edition): On Being Prepared

Seal of the Department of Homeland Security

Earlier this week, a major Earthquake occurred off the Gulf of Alaska with Tsunami warnings that would have devastating effects on The US West Coast.  In light of that, FEMA released advisory which we hereby are pleased to present for our regular scheduled Weekly "Notation":


FEMA Urges Tsunami Awareness and Preparedness for Coastal Communities

Following an intense earthquake that occurred in the Gulf of Alaska, which prompted tsunami watches, advisories and warnings across many state coastlines, FEMA continues to highlight safety tips for those who live in or visit coastal communities. While today’s immediate threat has passed, the situation serves as a reminder to all that there are steps that can be taken now, to prepare for future events.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, tsunamis are one of the most powerful and destructive natural forces, delivering a series of extremely long waves which can cause dangerous coastal flooding and powerful currents that can last for several hours or days. Caused by an underwater disturbance such as an earthquakelandslide,volcanic eruption, or meteorite, tsunamis radiate outward in all directions from the point of origin and can move across entire ocean basins.

If a major earthquake or landslide occurs close to shore, areas are at greater risk if they are less than 25 feet above sea level and within a mile of the shoreline. The first wave in a series could reach the beach in a few minutes, even before a warning is issued.

FEMA encourages citizens to protect themselves and their families by taking the following steps to ensure they are ready in the event of a tsunami:
- Create and practice an evacuation plan with your family. If you live in a tsunami evacuation zone you will find signs in your community. Familiarity may save your life. Be able to follow your escape route at night and during inclement weather. 
- Create a family communications plan to know how you’ll contact each other and reconnect if separated. Establish a family meeting place that’s familiar and easy to find.
- Build an emergency kit to ensure you and your family are prepared to be on your own for at least 72 hours.
- If you are a tourist, familiarize yourself with local tsunami evacuation protocol.

Familiarize yourself with tsunami notification information:

Tsunami Watch
- A tsunami watch is issued to alert emergency management officials and the public of an event which may later impact the watch area.
- Prepare to take action and stay alert for further information.

Tsunami Advisory   
A tsunami advisory is issued when a tsunami with the potential to generate strong currents or waves dangerous to those in or very near the water is imminent or expected. The threat may continue for sev­eral hours after initial arrival, but significant inundation is not expected for areas under an advisory.

Tsunami Warning
- A tsunami warning is issued when a tsunami with the potential to generate widespread inundation is imminent or expected.
- Warnings alert the public that dangerous coastal flooding accompanied by powerful cur­rents is possible and may continue for several hours after initial arrival.
- Move inland, out of the water, off the beach, and away from harbors, marinas, breakwaters, bays and inlets.
- Be alert to and follow instructions from your local emergency officials because they may have more detailed or specific information for your location.
- If you feel a strong earthquake or extended ground rolling take immediate protective actions such as moving inland and/or uphill preferably by foot.
- If told to evacuate, evacuate immediately, taking your animals with you.  If you are in a high-rise building and instructed to shelter in place, stay on floors just above flood water. Stay in hallways or interior rooms.
- Do not return to the coast until local emergency officials indicate it is safe to do so.

The FEMA App (available in English and Spanish) provides National Weather Service alerts, safety tips for what to do before/during/after more than 25 natural and man-made emergencies, emergency kit and family communication plan checklists, and more:

For more information about tsunamis and how to prepare visit

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Notations From the Grid (Special Tuesday Edition): On The Prowl On the Tech Front

This was just released by US-CERT On the latest from Apple on Security Updates:

U.S. Department of Homeland Security US-CERT
National Cyber Awareness System:

01/23/2018 03:35 PM EST

Original release date: January 23, 2018Apple has released security updates to address vulnerabilities in multiple products. An attacker could exploit some of these vulnerabilities to take control of an affected system.
NCCIC/US-CERT encourages users and administrators to review Apple security pages for the following products and apply the necessary updates:

This product is provided subject to this Notification and this Privacy & Use policy.
This is as Cyber Security continues to be critical ever more.    The latest out of Facebook was also interesting as noted below--this is as Rupert Murdoch came out with a call for Facebook to pay content providers basically making the argument that Facebook should be treated in the same class as Comcast, DirectTV/AT&T which we found to be quite interesting:

Facebook: Facebook announced last week that they will update the structure of the newsfeed in a response to criticism over the spread of fake news. But these changes might not provide the answer.

Notations From the Grid (Weekly Edition): On Education Watch w/the latest From #California

In our view, what happens in California matters.     The latest snapshot courtesy of the team at EdSource (one of our must reads for our Education Property) reflects this that we are pleased to present here for our Weekly "Notations From the Grid":

Podcast: This Week in California Education
This week Executive Director Louis Freedberg and Editor-at-Large John Fensterwald explore how a new state agency is addressing the state's teacher shortage by pitching teaching to the next generation of potential educators and helping them navigate their way to the classroom. They speak with Donna Glassman-Sommer, the executive director of the California Center on Teaching Careers, which running new ads promoting teaching. They discuss:

  • How much does salary matter?
  • What's a persuasive message to college students and others?
  • Is it a hard case to make?

John and Louis also discuss the news of the week:

Despite sharp criticisms by the U.S. Department of Education, the State Board of Education is sticking with its plan for complying with a federal law requiring states to improve low-performing schools. John explains what the disagreement is about.

In a shocking case of physical abuse, a couple from Perris with state authority to run a private school in their home faces charges of mistreating and imprisoning their 13 children for more than a decade. Louis discusses the lack of state regulations of homeschooling and actions the Legislature may take in response.

Can 600-plus California districts narrow the achievement gap?
John Fensterwald & Daniel J. Willis, EdSource

Most must act on their own, without state or county assistance.

California to explain but not change school improvement plan federal officials criticized
By John Fensterwald, EdSource

More details and tweaks in wording may not resolve key differences over Every Student Succeeds Act.

Initiative backers betting 2018 will be the year to take on California's Proposition 13
By John Fensterwald, EdSource

“Split-roll” proposal would raise billions for schools and local governments by increasing property taxes on businesses.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Notations From the Grid (W-End Edition): Reminders......

As we welcome you to the weekend throughout our virtual properties, please enjoy this sampling of thoughts we chose from our daily virtual walkabouts throughout the Social Grid this Week:

Education is not the answer to the question.
Education is the means to the answer to all questions.
- William Allin

Learning is the beginning of wealth.
Learning is the beginning of health.
Learning is the beginning of spirituality.
Searching and learning is where the miracle process all begins.
- Jim Rohn

True learning is not about facts,
but about conscious appreciation of the experience of living.
- Jonathan Lockwood Huie

They will question your motives.
They will disregard your achievements.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Notations From the Grid (Special Thursday Edition): An Opportunity To Reflect Upon #ServantLeadership

We hereby present this courtesy of Blanchard LeaderChat for all to review:

New post on Blanchard LeaderChat

Servant Leadership in Action

by David Witt
When people ask Ken Blanchard what he wants his legacy to be, he is quick to answer, “Servant leadership.”
That surprises some people who might expect him to point to his company’s flagship leadership program, Situational Leadership® II, or his best-selling business book, The One Minute Manager®.
Blanchard explains he is proud of the concepts within those products and how they have been widely accepted around the world. But over the last decade, he’s realized that the reason the concepts are well recognized is that they are examples of servant leadership in action—which he believes is the only way to achieve great relationships and great results.
“The world is in desperate need of a new leadership model,” explains Blanchard. “Too many leaders have been conditioned to think of leadership only in terms of power and control. But there is a better way to lead—one that combines equal parts serving and leading.”
In a new book, Servant Leadership in Action, coming out in March, Blanchard has invited more than 40 leaders from diverse backgrounds and industries to share their experiences with servant leadership. Here are a few of their stories.
Southwest Airlines
Colleen Barrett, president emeritus, Southwest Airlines, explains how servant leadership has been a key principle of success since the airline’s founding.
“For more than 40 years all of the leaders at Southwest Airlines have tried to model servant leadership. Herb Kelleher, our founder, led the way clearly—although I don’t think he knew what the expression servant leadership meant until we told him. Herb and I have always said that our purpose in life as senior leaders with Southwest Airlines was to support our people. At Southwest, our entire philosophy of leadership is still quite simple: treat your people right and good things will happen.
“We try in every way to let our employees know they are important and empowered to make a positive difference on a daily basis. Servant leadership isn’t soft management—it’s simply the right thing to do.”
That level of support manifests itself in many different ways at Southwest.  Barrett tells a heartwarming story of servant leadership in action that happened at Southwest a few years ago when a grandfather had to make last-minute reservations to be with a dying grandchild.
“The man was away from home in an unfamiliar city when he learned his grandson was dying and had only a couple of hours to live. The grandfather was desperately trying to get to him.
“Without any managerial intervention, our reservation agent directed the grandfather to head to the airport while she started working to clear obstacles from her end,” Barrett said. “She called the ground ops station at the airport, got hold of a ticket agent, and explained what the situation was. The ticket agent bought the grandfather a ticket with her own money, then went to the TSA checkpoint and told them she would be escorting a passenger who needed to make a flight. She then contacted the gate and explained the situation. The gate attendant, in turn, notified the captain on the flight.
“When it was time to push back, the pilot asked the ticket agent how close the grandfather was to arriving and learned the man was still about ten minutes away. The captain thought about it for a moment, then walked out of the cockpit to the front of the airplane and explained the situation to the passengers. He said, ‘We are going to wait for this gentleman. I think it’s the right thing to do.’ After listening to the captain’s explanation for the delay, the passengers broke into applause. When the grandfather arrived ten minutes later, he couldn’t believe the captain had held the plane for him. The captain’s response was, ‘Sir, this airplane wasn’t going anyplace without me—and I wasn’t going anyplace without you.’”
Synovus Financial
James Blanchard (no relation to Ken Blanchard) is the former CEO of Synovus Financial—a company whose servant leadership culture goes all the way back to 1888 when the founders of Columbus Bank and Trust Company were in the cotton mill business.
One day when a woman was working on a loom in the mill, her skirt got caught on the machine. The hem ripped and her life savings came spilling out on the floor. The hem of her skirt was the safest place she knew to keep her money. That day, the founders decided they could do better for their employees—so they started a bank that would serve as a trusted place for their workers’ life savings. The Synovus culture of service began the moment that woman’s savings spilled onto the floor.
“Over the years our name changed and we grew,” says Blanchard, “but our servant leadership culture endured and became even stronger. A few criticized us, saying the approach was too soft and permissive. So we had to prove it was the exact opposite—that people who were loved, respected, and prepared would perform better. Servant leadership led to higher performance and there was nothing permissive about it. We loved our people and we expected high performance. I believe when you truly care about someone, you not only love them but also expect the best from them and hold them to it.”
That approach has paid off for Synovus. In 1999, the company was named Fortune’s No. 1 Best Place to Work in America. They were on the list so often, in fact, the magazine asked them to stop entering and made them the first inductee into the Best Places to Work Hall of Fame.
“It was a great validation of our aspirations and our actions,” says CEO Blanchard. “I have been retired from Synovus for years but the pursuit of a servant leadership culture at Synovus was my greatest and most favorite satisfaction.”
Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen
When Cheryl Bachelder accepted the role of Popeyes CEO in November 2007, the company had been struggling.  Relationships with franchisees were not at the level they needed to be. Even so, a comment from a veteran franchisee caught her by surprise: “Don’t expect us to trust you anytime soon.”
Bachelder and her team decided to focus on servant leadership principles for turning around business performance.
“We began calling the franchisees our ‘number one customer.’ More important, as servant leaders, we began treating them that way. Our first principle was to respect and admire our owners’ passion for their work. Next, we listened to their needs and we accepted our roles and responsibilities in making things right. Finally, we put our owners’ interests above our own.”
The approach was a huge success. Relationships and business outcomes flourished. During the period from 2007 to 2016, under Bachelder’s leadership, Popeyes became a prosperous enterprise again. Franchise owners were served well: 95 percent rated their satisfaction with the Popeyes system at good or very good and 90 percent said they would recommend Popeyes to another franchisee.
“When we started, we didn’t know servant leadership would drive our success. We didn’t have a plaque in the office that stated our purpose and principles. What we did have was a team of leaders who were willing to put the success of the people and the enterprise before their own interests.”
The Power of Love, Not the Love of Power
A few years ago, Ken Blanchard received a letter from a man in New Zealand with a line that he believes sums up his leadership philosophy. The man said, “Ken, you are in the business of teaching people the power of love rather than the love of power.”
Servant leaders are constantly trying to find out what their people need to perform well and to live according to their organization’s vision. Rather than wanting employees to please their bosses, servant leaders want to make a difference in their employees’ lives and in their organizations. In top organizations, leaders believe if they do a good job serving their employees and show they truly care about them, the employees will, in turn, practice that same philosophy with customers.
Blanchard says, “We need servant leadership advocates and I nominate you. Go forth and spread the word to everyone who will listen. And remember: your job is to teach people the power of love rather than the love of power. After all, servant leadership is love in action.”

Would you like to learn more about servant leadership principles and how to apply them in your own organization?  Then join us for a free livecast on February 28!
Servant Leadership in Action Livecast
February 28, 2018 from 9:00 to 11:00 a.m. Pacific Time
Join best-selling business author Ken Blanchard and 20 other successful leaders for an in-depth look into the concept of servant leadership and how it can transform the culture and performance of your organization.  You’ll explore:
  • What is servant leadership?
  • How does it work in today’s organizations?
  • The role leaders play
  • How to get started
  • How to keep it growing
You’ll hear personal and powerful stories from 20 of today’s most inspiring servant leaders. You’ll be motivated to act after seeing how others have achieved great relationships and results in their organizations through servant leadership.
Attend this online event to:
  • Gain a clear understanding of this proven leadership model
  • Learn the fundamentals of servant leadership
  • Discover how other companies have achieved results
  • Acquire ideas of how servant leadership could look in your organization
People lead best when they serve first.  Don’t miss this opportunity to learn how servant leadership principles can take your organization’s performance to the next level.
The event is free courtesy of Berrett-Koehler Publishers and The Ken Blanchard Companies. To learn more, visit the Servant Leadership in Action Livecast registration page