An Open Letter to Rev. Franklin Graham from a “Small Church” Pastor

A reasonably long read, but one to undertake nevertheless.

Trinity's Portico

Dear Frank

Can I call you Frank? This is just pastor to pastor. Feel free to call me Peter. Anyway, I have to say I was flattered when I learned that your Decision America Tour took a detour off the beaten path to call upon us “small community churches.” We are nothing if not small. We seat 30-40 on a good Sunday. And we are a century old fixture of our small community. Most often we are overlooked and overshadowed by mega-churches and politically influential religious voices like your own. We don’t hold a candle to an auditorium filled with the music of a one hundred voice choir led by professional musicians. We probably will never be recognized in any nationally syndicated media. After all, we don’t do anything really “newsworthy.” We just preach the good news of Jesus Christ; love one another the best we can (which sometimes isn’t…

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8 years of suffering under Obama

I could go for that kind of suffering right about now.

Teri Carter's Library


3C54DC7D00000578-4140672-Barack_Obama_waves_as_he_boards_Marine_One_and_departs_the_Capit-a-77_1484945371469 Photo credit: The Associated Press

The sentence I hear most from well-meaning, conservative friends since President Trump’s election is this: “We suffered 8 years under Barack Obama.”

Fair enough. Let’s take a look.

The day Obama took office, the Dow closed at 7,949 points. Eight years later, the Dow had almost tripled, closing at 21,414.

General Motors and Chrysler were on the brink of bankruptcy, with Ford not far behind, and their failure, along with their supply chains, would have meant the loss of millions of jobs. Obama pushed through a controversial, $8o billion bailout to save the car industry. The U.S. car industry survived, started making money again, and the entire $80 billion was paid back, with interest.

While we remain vulnerable to lone-wolf attacks, no foreign terrorist organization has successfully executed a mass attack here since 9/11.

Obama ordered the raid that killed Osama Bin Laden.


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Graduation Speech: “You Said We Couldn’t Succeed, But You Were Wrong”

This needs wider distribution. This graduate speaks eloquently of the struggle that is public schools in our communities. He is speaking of New Haven CT, but can easily apply to Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools; though they won’t admit it.

Diane Ravitch's blog

Jo Lieb, who blogs as “Poetic Justice,” posted the powerful graduation speech written and delivered by Coral Ortiz, with Coral’s permission. Coral just graduated from a public high school in New Haven, Connecticut.

When we were young, we were taught that we were “one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” Our country taught us that no matter our income or race, we would all have the same chance to achieve our dreams. We were taught that there would never be a bias against a certain group of people, and that society believes in each and every one of us. These lessons of equality were taught as self-evident. These lessons of equality have and continue to be a lie.

The reality is that despite the fact that we recite the words “one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all,” it has been 50 years…

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The Absurdity of Applying Industrial Lingo to Schools

Finally, someone articulated what has been on my mind for years, and yes the symptoms can be found locally as well from CMS (Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools) in particular.

Diane Ravitch's blog

I recently read a post by Larry Cuban about the difficulty of “scaling up successful reforms,” and I was reminded how much I dislike the application of industrial terminology to schooling. Larry offers some examples of successful efforts to “scale up,” but I question the effort itself.

While it is possible for schools to adopt and adapt a program or a practice that has worked out for others, the very idea of reproducing cookie-cutter schools designed to get high test scores invalidates the professional wisdom of educators. You can stamp out cars and tools with the right equipment, but you can’t reproduce good schools via mechanical processes.

People who work in business, industry, finance, or the tech sector like to speak of “scaling up,” of “innovation,” of “best practices,” and of “replication,” which they know how to do.

They are frustrated that success in one school is not easily packaged…

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Why Amazon’s hardware is just a vessel for their real product

Why Amazon’s hardware is just a vessel for their real product

I am intrigued by the Alexa service. It competes with Cortana from Microsoft, Siri from Apple, Assistant from Google, and even Bixby from Samsung, but is so far ahead of them right now. Akin to Amazon Web Services in relation to Azure, Google Cloud, and the rest.

As in the cloud game where Azure is a real player and Google currently distant, expect Google to catch up in AI. They have so many advantages that can overcome not being a first mover.

  1. The company has access to massive buckets of contextual search data.
  2. The Google developer community is robust.
  3. Google has made investments in AI companies that will drive the development of Google Assistant.

(Beaver, 2017)

The Amazon Echo is an incredible product, but what makes it so great? Could its core competency be relocated to more practical vessels?

Source: Why Amazon’s hardware is just a vessel for their real product

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Microsoft reportedly set to acquire Israeli clould analytics startup Cloudyn for $50–70 million

UPDATE June 29: The deal is official. No information was given on whether the company would remain platform agnostic.


Earlier this month, Microsoft’s EVP of business development Peggy Johnson explained in an interview with Fortune that the company wouldn’t slow down on acquisitions this year. Indeed, Microsoft is very much interested in small companies that can “fill a gap we have,” explained Johnson, and it seems that Redmond has just found a small startup that could help it improve its cloud business in the near future

According to a report from Israeli business publication Calcalist, Microsoft is planning to acquire Cloudyn, a Tel Aviv-based cloud monitoring startup in a deal evaluated between $50–70 million (via Techcrunch). Cloudyn would be an interesting acquisition for Microsoft, as the Israeli startup developed an expertise in optimizing hybrid cloud environments, supporting Microsoft Azure and other leading cloud platforms such as AWS. More importantly, the company already counts some pretty big clients including Hewlett-Packard Enterprise and Ticketmaster.

Interestingly, Cloudyn also announced last month its support for Microsoft Cloud Solution Providers (CSPs), which are select integrators that manage and monitor Azure deployments for their clients. “Cloudyn equips Azure users with crucial cloud usage and cost optimization services that identify performance and efficiency issues in order to manage their cloud investments and realize their full cloud potential,” explained the company in the press release. It remains to be seen if Cloudyn, which remains platform agnostic as of today, could be used by Microsoft to push Azure as a more efficient cloud platform compared to its competitors.

Microsoft declined to comment the acquisitions rumors, but we’ll let you know if we learn more about it in the coming weeks. Let us know in the comments if you think it makes sense for Microsoft to acquire a cloud monitoring company like Cloudyn. I took the author up on that offer.

My comment on their commenting system.

Further reading: Acquisition, Azure, Cloud Management, Microsoft, startup

Originally published at on April 20, 2017.

Microsoft tackles employment…

Microsoft tackles employment…

The linked article is a great start and needs to be expanded at a rapidly growing pace, but here is where I differ with the outcome. The effort is a noble one as older industry jobs are subject to reduction and automation, my take is that even with this and other efforts, there will still not be enough work to go around, and then what? Some people are more special than others? more worthy of successful lives? part of the politically correct club or outfit? I could go on and on; my counterargument is the dollars that are spent this way can be better served by taking the same set of workers and provide them with a Universal Basic Income as a floor. An excellent primer for this concept and the freedom it can provide is found here.

The highlighted image/screengrab I created below does lay out a good quote for the project, even if it is “corporate speak”.



Brad Smith of Microsoft (Arif Bacchus, 2017)

Having said that, there are not enough companies that are willing to go this far to help retrain displaced workers and do it without the prodding of governments or to fulfill political objectives from one tribe or another. I must disclose that I am a HUGE fan of Microsoft and their products, but I would also welcome this from Amazon, Google, Facebook, heck even Apple.



via The Markle Foundation will team with Microsoft to expand skillful employment | On MSFT

Arif Bacchus. (2017, June 28). The Markle Foundation will team with Microsoft to expand skillful employment [WordPress 4.8]. Retrieved June 29, 2017, from