Thursday, October 26, 2017

Ideas, Actions, and Inspiration for a Better Tomorrow - October 26 Edition

American Soldiers, Military

“Our troops deserve to be thanked for their service. But the best method for honoring them might be the least practiced of all: learning what they actually do. This has the advantage of being something Americans can do today, before the next war starts, or before the inevitable announcement of troop casualties. American citizens have always had this choice — they can be passive recipients of White House and Pentagon messaging, or empowered citizens who are better informed about military policy and less susceptible to political manipulation.

To get started, here are 20 important aspects of U.S. military policy that anyone can explore further by clicking the embedded links. The amount and granularity of such information has decreased since 9/11 as each administration becomes less and less transparent. The reports and databases linked below do not necessarily include covert or clandestine missions, and some are undoubtedly incomplete even beyond such omissions.

But the U.S. armed forces are still relatively open to scrutiny compared to other great power militaries. That’s why honoring the troops by learning what they do costs nothing more than the price of a reliable internet connection — and why there’s no excuse not to set aside the necessary time.”

Family Leave, Work-Life Balance

IBM is Giving Its New Moms and Dads Even More Perks

IBM on Wednesday is increasing its existing parental leave and introducing a policy that reimburses employees for surrogacy expenses for the first time.

The paid maternity leave available to new birth mothers employed at the tech giant will increase from a maximum of 14 weeks to 20 weeks. Fathers, partners, and adoptive parents, meanwhile, will receive 12 paid weeks off—double the previous benefit of six.

The Armonk, N.Y.-based company is also offering employees a reimbursement of up to $20,000 for expenses related to adoption or surrogacy; it previously offered $5,000 for adoptions only. The new reimbursement will be available to employees even if their adoption or surrogacy efforts are unsuccessful, allowing workers to pursue parenthood “without devastating their bank accounts,” Barbara Brickmeier, IBM’s vice president of benefits, told Fortune.

She said the new benefits reflect the company’s realization that “no one size fits all.”

“We have a general approach of wanting to meet employees where they are,” she said. “People are forming families in various ways.” She pointed to the new surrogacy reimbursement in particular as benefiting both straight and same-sex parents. She said employees had asked for the perk.”

Puerto Rico, Recovery, Solar Energy

Tesla Turns Power Back On At Children's Hospital In Puerto Rico

“Tesla has used its solar panels and batteries to restore reliable electricity at San Juan's Hospital del Niño (Children's Hospital), in what company founder Elon Musk calls "the first of many solar+battery Tesla projects going live in Puerto Rico."

The project came about after Puerto Rico was hit by two devastating and powerful hurricanes in September, and Musk reached out about Tesla helping.

Musk's company announced its success in getting the hospital's power working again less than three weeks after Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello tweeted on Oct. 6, "Great initial conversation with @elonmusk tonight. Teams are now talking; exploring opportunities."

Tesla's image of the project's solar array, in a parking lot next to the hospital, has been liked more than 84,000 times since it was posted to Instagram Tuesday.”

Future of Work, Public Policy

“Manufacturing will fall. Retail will wobble. Automation will inch along but stay off the roads, for now. The rich will keep getting richer. And more and more of the country will be paid to take care of old people. That is the future of the labor market, according to the latest 10-year forecast from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

These 10-year-forecast reports—the products of two years’ work from about 25 economists at the BLS —document the government’s best assessment of the fastest and slowest growing jobs of the future. On the decline are automatable work, like typists, and occupations threatened by changing consumer behavior, like clothing store cashiers, as more people shop online.

The fastest-growing jobs through 2026 belong to what one might call the Three Cs: care, computers, and clean energy. No occupation is projected to add more workers than personal-care aides, who perform non-medical duties for older Americans, such as bathing and cooking. Along with home-health aides, these two occupations are projected to create 1.1 million new jobs in the next decade. Remarkably, that’s 10 percent of the total 11.5 million jobs that the BLS expects the economy to add. Clean-energy workers, like solar-panel installers and wind-turbine technicians, are the only occupations that are expected to double by 2026. Mathematicians and statisticians round out the top-10 list.

These projections aren't just a fun experiment for economic forecasters and journalists who need unfalsifiable predictions to write about. They can help college students pick their major—for example, the projected growth of statisticians augurs well for math—and shape debates about government spending.

At times, however, it seems like nobody at the highest level of government has any clue these reports exist. When President Donald Trump talks about the future of the economy, he often praises steel workers and manufacturers. But manufacturing is the only major industry projected to decline in the next decade, and steelworkers are projected to add just 9,000 jobs in the next 10 years. That is about the same as the projected increase in drama and music professors at private colleges, an occupation that no politician considers symbolic of the American idea (sad!).

Women, Leadership, Media

“The Women's Media Awards 2017 will be held on Thursday, October 26 in New York City.

Awards will be given to Hillary Rodham Clinton, Maria HinojosaAshley Judd, April RyanMaría Elena Salinas, and Gail Tiffordand also recognizing the film “Hidden Figures.” And we will be celebrating the landmark 80th birthday of our co-founder Jane Fonda.

Maya L. Harris, lawyer, MSNBC analyst, senior policy adviser to the 2016 Hillary Rodham Clinton presidential campaign, and former board co-chair of the Women’s Media Center, will host this event for the first time.”

“Clinton is an advocate, attorney, author, First Lady, U.S. Senator, U.S. Secretary of State, and Democratic presidential candidate who has devoted her life to working on behalf of women, children and families.

The Women’s Media Center is presenting its first—and only—WMC Wonder Woman Award to Clinton as she is a hero to millions in the United States and around the globe for her extraordinary accomplishments and public service. Like Wonder Woman, she seems to have superhuman strength, resilience, and courage. She also blazes new paths so that everyone has equal opportunity to pursue their dreams, and she has done much of it in the face of enemy fire.

“Hillary Clinton’s actions have inspired and protected women and men on every continent,” said Gloria Steinemco-founder of The Women’s Media Center. “She has battled negative forces and helped to maintain a fragile peace with her negotiating skill on behalf of this country and peace-seekers everywhere. She has handled all this with grace, grit, determination, integrity, humor and fortitude while remaining a steadfast feminist, advocate, activist, sister and tireless leader in the revolution. With this award, the Women’s Media Center declares Hillary Clinton our Wonder Woman.””

Congratulations to the winners!

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