From the dawn of time, humans have used various methods to communicate: smoke signals, drums, messengers on foot and horseback, carrier pigeons, telegraphs, wired telephone, and today’s mobile phones and the Internet. We have always had the need to communicate with each other.  Technology has improved the methods we use to communicate with each. Communication has become more convenient and effortless, generally. Unfortunately, today’s modern communication systems rely on a system that is flawed and have not had much improvement in the United States.

Yes, we have gone from the use of fires sites, to candles to kerosene lamps to electricity to provide us light, but the grids that transport electricity have fallen behind the improvements that our communication systems have experienced.  We see how vulnerable our electrical grids are as seen in the power outages due to outdated equipment and network design. The damages that Hurricane turned Tropical Storm Sandy caused to the supply of power to the Northeast underscores this vulnerability of this antiquated system.

As a nation, we have become more reliant on access to electricity for most of our activities in our daily lives. We use electricity to cook our food, to wash our clothes, to secure and heat our homes, to power our electric cars, and to power our phones and computers. Electricity permeates our lives and we have become very dependent on this power source.  It is amazing to me that the public is not demanding that the power companies improve the backbone of our power supply in this nation. Think of all the money that has been lost because of the delayed repairs of the services in Northeast. Imaging the billions of dollars that may have been lost with the inability of the stock market being down.

We are so concerned about securing our borders, and we should; however, we have lost sight of the great need to secure our electrical power grids by modernizing these systems and ensuring that they cannot be affected by certain natural and man-made events. This can lead to economical and security disasters. It is said one should build one’s house on solid ground and not on sinking sand. If we don’t improve our power grids, we run the risk of building our fancy communications systems not only on a shaky foundation but also on quicksand.

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With the passage of legalized marijuana in both the states of Colorado and Washington, people are wondering what the response will be from the Federal Government that still states marijuana use is illegal. I am wondering how the corporate world in these states will react. As we know many corporation test new applicants for drug use. Now that these states allow their citizens to smoke marijuana legally, do they now stop drug testing for this for the job seekers?

If there are nationwide corporation, do they not test for marijuana in these two states, but test in the other forty-eight states? What if an employee transfers from Colorado to New York, does this employee lose his/her job because they were smoking pot in Colorado legally under this state law? How do you prove that a worker was impaired by the use of marijuana on the job or at home? It is much harder to prove than alcohol.

If a corporation doesn’t hire an applicant or fires a worker that tests positive for marijuana, do they risk being sued in these states if the drug is consumed on personal time? Does the corporation that removes marijuana from the list of tested drugs, does this exposes them to higher insurance costs or liability for damages a marijuana smoking, worker may cause? As you can see, I have many questions swirling in my head.

This is new territory for corporation, one that I don’t see turning back. In my opinion the horse is already out the barn. It is only a matter of time before more states adopt the views of Colorado and Washington states. More and more of the citizens of the USA have views that are more favorable to the personal use of marijuana. Corporate America will have to quickly devise plans that would address this situation before it gets ahead of their existing policies on drug use.

What’s your opinion? Please leave a comment.

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Clouds gathering

Swirling in the whirlpool

Of my thoughts

Doubt creeping in

Like the Grim Ripper

To kill my dreams


Then I recall

Who I am

And Whose I am

I belong to

The Great I AM


Hope rises

Like the Dawning

Of a New Day

Happy Sunlight

Fills my Soul




Marlene M. Bryan


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Our district, District 47 of Toastmasters International held our Fall 2012 Conference in Nassau, Bahamas. This was the first time after an eighteen-year hiatus from the country. Our Bahamian counterparts have attended multiple meetings and two conferences to fulfill their leadership duties each year. Our leadership thought it was only fair to host the event in their country again.

I was really excited to attend the conference to support the success of the event. From the time I stepped off the airplane to the time I left the Bahamas last night, I was so impressed with the hospitality the Bahamians showed my fellow Toastmasters and me.  When the Bahamian customs officer asked me why I was visiting. I told her that I am here for the Toastmasters Convention. She told me she heard about the event on the news station. Wow! The cab driver was so pleasant and she disclosed that she was also a Toastmaster member. It seems that most people in the Bahamas respect the Toastmaster International organization and many employers on the island are impressed when someone seeking a job acknowledges that he/she is a member of the organization. Amazing.

We were warmly welcomed at the hotel and they went out of their way to accommodate us. Now you may think, they are just being nice because they want our tourist dollars. But I don’t think that is quite so. I observed the interaction between the citizens of this country with each other and they were very respectfully and friendly with each other, the same way they were with us.  Our Bahamian Toastmasters put on quite a show for us. They had a live band both nights; they provided dancers and revealers for our entertainment.

They turned out enforced to support the event. It was by far one of the best conferences I have ever participated in. It was an honor for me to be one of the speakers/presenters in one of the workshop on leadership. I forgot the connector for my laptop and one of my fellow Toastmasters sent someone to retrieve his laptop from his home to loan me for the session. His kindness helped me to conduct the workshop without a hitch. The attendees were very attentive and help to make the workshop a great success.

Although, I did not get a chance to put my foot in the water due to the jam-packed schedule, I left with no regrets, except that I didn’t stay longer. The love that I felt from my Bahamian brothers and sisters left me feeling so welcomed that I almost didn’t want to leave. I can’t wait for the next event in this wonderful country.  I now know why their slogan is “It’s better in the Bahamas.” They certainly lived up to it this weekend.

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Well we didn’t get my son’s stolen phone back. I think I lost the opportunity to locate it because I had to travel this weekend on business outside the country. The problem with the Plan B App is that the crooks can see that the App is being loaded on the phone. They have the ability to uninstall it and/or turn off the phone. This means the phone cannot be tracked. What we need is an App that is able to be loaded with such stealth that no one is aware of it.

Also, the Plan B App accesses the phone via the Gmail account. Now that my son has his replacement phone associated with his Gmail account, we may have lost the capability to link the App with the stolen phone. I will keep trying to find an App that would give me this capability. In the end, my son learned a valuable lesson about being more careful with his phone. I’m disappointed that we were not able to locate it, and have the pleasure of handing the culprits over to the police. Yet, I am reminded that this is only a small material loss and there are people in the Northeast who are wondering where they will sleep or what they will eat tonight. My prayers remain with them.

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