Daily Inspiration: Labor Day

Labor Day is an American holiday created to celebrate the hard workers that keep this county moving. The first Labor Day was celebrated on September 5, 1882 in New York City. It was first proposed by The Central Labors Union and eventually became a nationwide holiday.

In today’s video, Carhartt, a retail company and Von Miller, NFL player for the Denver Broncos, gives tribute to those who do the most thankless jobs in America.

Daily Inspiration: Speak Up

Terry Crews is an actor who has made us laugh in many movies and tv shows. He was recently in the news after coming out against a sexual assault that he experienced. He uses his platform to talk about very important issues.

In today’s video, he discusses the earliest memories he has of the trauma he endured throughout his life. As a domestic violence survivor, he talks about the importance of speaking up and not looking the other way. The quality of your life and the lives of the people around you, depend on it.

Sears Pioneered Catalog Homes

Today Sears is known for appliances and other products that you find in department stores. With the recent closing of hundreds of stores, it seemed as if their run is coming to a close. Sears may have become a casualty of the modern shopping era but they once were the pioneers of innovation.

In the early 1900s, home buying was as simple as opening up a Sears catalog. Sears Modern Homes were sold factory to consumers and the consumer assumed the responsibility for building the actual home.

From 1908–1940, Sears, Roebuck and Co. sold about 70,000 – 75,000 homes through their mail-order Modern Homes program. Over that time Sears designed 447 different housing styles…Customers could choose a house to suit their individual tastes and budgets.

Sears was not an innovative home designer. Sears was instead a very able follower of popular home designs but with the added advantage of modifying houses and hardware according to buyer tastes. Modern Home customers had the freedom to build their own dream houses, and Sears helped realize these dreams through quality custom design and favorable financing.

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Sears Hamilton, from the 1923 Modern Homes Catalog- Sears Homes of Chicagoland
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1607 Techny, Northbrook- Sears Homes of Chicagoland

Without going into specifics of applicable laws on home building and land ownership in the early 1900’s, that process was most likely easier and required less hoops than home buying in today’s society.

The average home price hovered around $1,000 and the average financing term for a home loan was 5 years at 6% and could extend to 15 years. In today’s market that would roughly put a home purchase at around $25,000. That may be remarkable considering the average price of a home in the United States is $217,300, according to Zillow

The Great Depression eventually ended the boom of Sears Modern Homes and their last catalog home was sold in 1940. However, they did help familiarize many families with modern conveniences that we now enjoy in standard American homes. Indoor plumbing, central heating and electricity were new developments at the time and eventually became common in construction of homes.

The architecture of many of these homes have been replicated throughout the country. Some original catalog homes are still standing and have served as a declaration of the time and society they were built in.

 

Daily Inspiration: Lebron James Opens Elementary School

Professional athletes have recently received some backlash for being overpaid and not contributing to society in a meaningful way. However, that doesn’t apply to all, since many donate their time, skills and resources to help many communities.

Lebron James opened up a tuition free elementary school in Akron Ohio that is dedicated to providing support and resources for children and parents that need it the most. His dedication to helping children from similar backgrounds and philanthropy is truly met with gratitude by those on the receiving end.

The Future of Jobs is Nothing New

Retailers and restaurants across the country are jumping on the bandwagon—the automation bandwagon. Chances are, you may have noticed an influx of self check-outs that are easily outfitted to complete your transaction. That unsurprisingly, is the line with the permanent direction of the future and it is nothing new.

Automation launched the textile and other industries into mass production during the Industrial Revolution. Some of the most notable inventions during that time were the cotton gin, steam engine and telephone. These inventions notably powered society in the past and new and improved versions of this technology still do today.

Large factories still use machines to do a lot of the brunt work of making products that assist daily life. By now, we have become accustomed to using technology to assist us in doing things like pumping gas and calculating change. Many people are thankful for these machines because it saves time, money and keeps us moving everyday.

The same efficiency sentiment has carried through with the introduction of these automated machines. Self check-out and ordering machines have replaced face to face interactions in the name of saving money. In a recent article by Forbes, the new uptick in automation for Mcdonald’s is accredited to companies now meeting the demands of a higher minimum wage.

While some consumers may appreciate the novelty or added convenience, the conveniences come at the cost of entry-level jobs…This trend is nothing new. Chains have responded to rising labor costs and technological advancement accordingly and McDonald’s has been leading the way as a pioneer in productivity among employees, concepts, and machines.

However, with labor costs continuing to skyrocket, it’s inevitable that restaurants and other fast food chains will continuously search for ways to reduce labor costs–particularly as customers get comfortable with new technology.

It is a surprise that this hasn’t happened sooner. Companies of all industries are looking for ways to increase their bottom line—cheaply. Technology has continued to be the answer to that problem. Requiring that customers actually meet with another live person is a courtesy not a necessity. Calling a bank and having to get through the initial pleasant voiced robot, will probably be permanent once voice recognition software has been perfected.

People will eventually need to assert their skills elsewhere, as those who found their jobs taken away in the past did. There is money to be made everywhere and in any evolving industry. Until machines have completely infiltrated society, a living brain is still paramount for them to function.

 

 

The End of Child Marriage is Gaining Traction

Marriage is thought to be a sacred union between two consenting adults. However, in most of the country, you don’t necessarily have to be an adult. New Jersey recently became the second state (after Delaware) to ban marriage for people under the age of eighteen.

Forty eight states still allow children to get married either on their own volition or with the approval of their parents and/or a judge. A hundred years ago someone may not have batted an eyelash at a sixteen year old’s tying the knot but times have changed along with general life expectancy.

The idea behind children getting married used to be attributed to the fact that most people dropped dead by fifty, so it didn’t make sense to wait until 35 to get married and have children. In today’s society, child marriage can mostly be attributed to religious and family preference.

In an article by CBS news, child marriage survivor and founder of Unchained At Last, Fraidy Reiss sheds light on the issue.

“There’s nothing easy about escaping a forced marriage,” Reiss said.

National forced marriage statistics are hard to come by. In a survey of marriage licenses compiled by Unchained At Last, at least 167,000 children under 18 were married in the U.S. between 2000 and 2010. (That number is likely on the conservative side, as Unchained At Last could obtain age data from only 38 U.S. states.)

The vast majority of those children were girls married off to adult men, Reiss said.

The argument against the forced marriage of minors is clear, it is a distinct violation of human rights. A person should not be forced to enter into a legal contract with another person they do not choose or before they are ready.

On the contrary, if a person under eighteen chooses to get married, should the law prevent them? That depends on how the law measures the aptitude of children to make decisions that affect their lives.

Laws already exist to regulate the  purchase of alcohol and tobacco, voting, serving in the military and gambling. Does marriage fall in the same category? Perhaps it should, since it is a legal contract.

Legislatures in other states seem to agree as California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Missouri, New York, Texas and Pennsylvania are now considering passing bills to limit or end child marriage.

Daily Inspiration: Women in Finance

Lauren Simmons is surpassing expectations at just 23 years old. She is currently the only female floor broker at the New York Stock Exchange.

In today’s video she talks about her journey and the empowerment she feels by accomplishing this goal. She is an inspiration to girls looking to find their place in STEM fields.

Daily Inspiration: Kids Feeding the Hungry

The issue of hunger across America and even the world is a monumental. One girl is doing her part to end it in her corner of South Carolina.

Katie’s Krops was inspired by a homework assignment. She was given seeds and asked to grow cabbage. To Katie’s surprise, it grew to be as large as 40 pounds. With that bounty she went on to feed over 200 people.

Since then she has used gardening as a tool to feed America’s hungry. Currently Katie’s Krops has over 100 gardens and has fed thousands of people.

Daily Inspiration: Get Outside and Enjoy Nature

How many hours of your life do you spend indoors? For many people it is almost all of it.

Today’s video was created by The Velux Group, a company that manufactures skylights. In this video (which reads almost like a commercial) the narrator explains the transitions we have made from nature to an indoor environment.

The downsides of living a life within walls include sickness and depression. Centuries of technological advancement afford us the luxury of remaining indoors, but we should also remember that a world exists out there. Get outside.

Combating Fake News is Simple

Several syndicated news programs are owned by a few large corporations that may tend to favor a specific political view. The days of getting unbiased mainstream news coverage are long gone. These programs no longer just cover the news, they also generate opinions — often swaying the audience watching.

This level of pandering is not a surprise to either side of the fence. Corporations are in business for the bottom line and will follow new trends to get there. That newest trend being — opinion-based news.

The phrase “fake news” was coined by President Trump in an effort to challenge stations that were reporting, what he believed to be, fake news about him. This concept has taken off in the minds of many Americans. People are consistently judging the legitimacy of news coverage provided by major stations such as: Fox News, CNN, and MSNBC.

Coincidently, a video surfaced showing that news stations owned by the Sinclair Broadcast Group were having their reporters recite a speech saying that they are dedicated to providing balanced and fair news coverage. Thus, fueling the conversation that the news is just producing propaganda.

Syndicated programs have shied away from investigative reporting in an effort to make sensational news more popular. Modern news doesn’t seem to be dedicated to reporting just the facts. Mainstream media simply finds a hot button current event topic and addresses it according the partisan views of their employer. Seems simple enough.

How can the general population stay informed on real unbiased facts surrounding current events across the nation? By abandoning their typical news outlets. In order to get outside information, one must seek it.

The wealth of the knowledge is at our fingertips. People are doing labor intensive research on topics the general public needs to know the truth about. Professors, scientists and students in academia spend tireless hours doing exhaustive research and studies on current issues.

While the average person, isn’t going to want to tread through an academic journal; other options exist. Believe it or not encyclopedias haven’t retreated to the stone age. Research based organizations are available to feed you factual information without making you feel like you have to pick a side.

Pew Research Center and Science Daily are sites that deliver research based, non-partisan information. Better yet, support your local library by utilizing the plentiful resources it provides.

Independent news organizations have investigative journalists waiting for fresh eyes to absorb their work. Check out Reveal, C-Span, and Al Jazeera English for these types of articles.

The facts are out there, go find them.

 

 

Daily Inspiration: 9/11 Memorial & Museum 5K Run/Walk

September 11, 2001 was indeed a horrific day for the United States of America. Thousands of lives were lost during the events in New York City, Washington D.C. and in Pennsylvania.

The 9/11 Memorial & Museum in New York City is dedicated to remembering the nearly 3,000 people who lost their lives in 2001 and in the World Trade Center bombing in 1993.

Honoring the lives of those who were lost is at the heart of our mission. Occupying eight of the 16 acres at the World Trade Center, the Memorial is a tribute to the past and a place of hope for the future.

The 9/11 Memorial Museum serves as the country’s principal institution concerned with exploring the implications of the events of 9/11, documenting the impact of those events and exploring 9/11’s continuing significance.

On Sunday, April 22, 2018 the sixth annual 9/11 Memorial & Museum 5K Run/Walk and Community Day will take place in lower Manhattan. This fundraiser is in support of the daily operations of the memorial and museum.

If you will be in the New York City area and would like to commemorate 9/11 heroes and lost loved ones click here to learn more.

The Infinite War: Skin Color

Skin color is an contentious topic for many. It is truly arbitrary but has evolved to have incredible meaning across cultural and ‘racial’ lines. The literal determination of pigment in skin is simple- it’s the amount of melanin that your body produces. This biological process is purely an adaptation of necessity.

The Smithsonian Natural Museum of Natural History explains the physiological need for different skin tones.

Why do people from the tropics generally have darker skin color that those who live in colder climates? Variations in human skin color are adaptive traits that correlate closely with geography and the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation.

Melanin, the skin’s brown pigment, is a natural sunscreen that protects tropical peoples from the many harmful effects of ultraviolet (UV) rays.

The concept of skin color is just the body evolving biologically to protect itself from the sun. Somewhere along the way, a distinction developed between light and dark skin. The battle of pigment is likely derived from centuries of brainwashing through colonization and segregation for power.

Discrimination against those with different skin is more than skin deep. These divisions have expanded into subconscious perceptions and have real internal and external consequences. Skin color is now a package deal with preset expectations and characterizations of the person it sits on. This rationale is perpetuated in media and among people in everyday society.

Racism is so powerful and systematic that the assumptions that are bred within its culture, have had long lasting effects on there targeted communities. Colorism has taken hold of many communities of color, forever changing the psyche of the people who enact on it.

The conditioning is so elaborate that people with medium to dark skin tones are actually bleaching their skin to become lighter. It is widely believed that lighter skin leads to better opportunities and upward mobility.

Reversing gilded belief systems won’t happen overnight- but some perspective, never hurts. If we as humans have learned anything from modern science, it is not to be weary of the unknown. The mixed bag of genetics is just that, mixed. Appearances are just evolutionary adaptations to the environments of our ancestors. The alarm of fear should not be sounded over aesthetics.

Remove the sentiment associated with the color of ones skin. Skin color is not a determination of character or moral fiber. View it, for its intended purpose, a vessel and protector. In the 21st century, the war the has been waged against it is outdated and futile.

 

 

 

Daily Inspiration: Reforestation of the Amazon

The Amazon is the worlds largest rainforest. It spans over 2 million miles and provides a home for millions of people and various species of wildlife. Since the 1970’s the deforestation of the Amazon has spiraled out of control.

Humans have cleared significant areas of the forest to make room for crops and livestock, which in turn has serious consequences on the balance of our ecosystem.

A new initiative in Brazil is going to bring back 73 million trees to the Amazon. Reforestation is important to the survival of humans and the planet itself.

Learning the Lobby

Corporations have been working since the 1950’s to figure out how to make the government work for them. If therein lies a problem, money will solve it. Lobbyists work tirelessly to keep their clients bottom line parallel to the dealings in Washington.

The American government allows corporations to come in and heavily court our nations representatives with campaign contributions and kickbacks in exchange for more favorable legislation. Corporations have become so effective- that they have created entire agendas in favor of their causes. An article by The Atlantic outlines the metrics:

Corporations now spend about $2.6 billion a year on reported lobbying expenditures – more than the $2 billion we spend to fund the House ($1.18 billion) and Senate ($860 million).

Today the biggest companies have upwards of 100 lobbyists representing them, allowing them to be everywhere, all the time. For every dollar spent on lobbying by labor unions and public- interest groups together, large corporations and their associations now spend $34. Of the 100 organizations that spend the most on lobbying, 95 consistently represent business.

Some of the most influential contributors in history came from tobacco, sugar, gun and the privatized prison system. If you think about the campaigns in favor of these specific industries, what are some pitfalls? Millions have suffered from tobacco related illness, obesity or sugar/food related illnesses, have been the victim of gun violence, and private prisons are overflowing with people for petty crimes.

Lobbyist ensure there place by having a reliable presence; even if the results of their labor have a negative impact on society. Corporations use their clout to influence public opinion and the propaganda that follows is calculated. Long lasting legislation is dependent on persuading the public to believe that what is proposed is legitimate and most of all resourceful.

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Money Spent by Top Industries Lobbying from 1998-2017 via Center For Responsive Politics 

Democracy gets lost when civil liberties are for sale to a willing constituent. When effective propaganda is used to favor an entity that has grown bigger than its intended purpose, society is at a loss. Pharmaceutical, insurance,  defense and oil companies have seen tremendous and not entirely ethical profits by accommodating  government officials.

Are we convinced to vote against our own interests? The answer is all around us: on the news, advertisements, and bills. Voting power comes with knowledge, not just what is circulating on televisions and social media. It is imperative to know who is in the pockets of candidates to protect your livelihood. Go beyond party lines and become informed- corporations are betting on it.

Daily Inspiration: Learn Beyond Your Prejudice

Nas Daily is a world traveler that posts videos on Facebook about the people he meets and interesting concepts about those places. His videos are informative and can be fairly moving.

In today’s video he had an interaction with someone who holds a prejudice against people from his home country. He tried to change the view of the people that he is conversing with.

Nas reminds us that no matter what we see, are taught, or experience it is unwise to generalize entire groups of people. You exclude yourself from amazing interactions and relationships when you don’t learn beyond your prejudice.