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Fighting Pigeons, and Other Home Office Visitors

Hey, I get a lot of appreciated disturbances at my home office. Sometimes the visitors act as my alarm clock, and other times they're drooling. Here's a brief look from my window…

2Fighters, or …?

1

Insects are delicious, or, Woodpecker waking Craig up at five am is hilarious.

suet
Steller's Jay locks in best target in the Squirrel-resistant Suet Palace.

(note to self: refill the Palace)

A Robin, bath interrupted, and indignant
A Robin, bath interrupted, and indignant.

Craig's wake up call today provided by two raccoons

Craig's wake up call is sometimes provided by two raccoons, here's one of 'em.

New way to wake up Craig- a very chuffed, very loud, Western Scrub Jay

Others have discovered a new way to wake up Craig: a very chuffed, very loud, Western Scrub Jay.

Okay, we'd like to see more of these guys. The Mrs put up a parrot toy. She's instructed me to make parrot noise

Okay, we'd like to see more of these guys. The Mrs put up a parrot toy. She's instructed me to make "parrot noise."

Parrots, skeptical and amused (at least the bald spot hasn't grown in  20 years...)

Parrots, skeptical and amused. (At least the bald spot hasn't grown in  20-30 years…)

Philosopher pigeon wonders about it all

Philosopher pigeon wonders about it all.

Selfie with Billy

Selfie with Billy, nephew #20 who will visit, someday. Billy's the one (visibly) drooling…

the demure one

The demure one.

The team

The team.

Walter

And, finally, this is Walter.

These photos are all by the Mrs. and myself, and were pulled from my facebook page, and the #Crileen (that's Craig and Eileen) Birdography Spectacular. A Special thanks to Cornell Lab of Ornithology and eBird.org for helping out with some bird IDs, they do great work!

I'll keep you posted on the parrot noises…

Why I speak ONLY for myself

Hey, recently I've made a point of reminding people that I haven't been a spokesman for craigslist, or had any role in management since 2000.

My deal is that, as a manager, I kinda suck, but I found my calling in customer service, and every day I saw how we helped people put food on the table and put a roof over that table.

Customer service is a big part of what inspires me; also consider that "the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice."(Martin Luther King Jr.)

For a few years now (time flies!) I've been working on public service and philanthropy under the craigconnects.org umbrella.

In the short term, I have a few causes I believe in and support a number of organizations who are good at getting stuff done for those causes.

In the long term, over a twenty year period say, my goal is to connect people everywhere, to support the stuff *they* believe in.

People often know me as the founder of craigslist, but these days I'm on my own public service mission. So, thoughts I share publicly here (or anywhere else) are my own, and I speak only for myself.

That way craigslist and its users won't (or at least shouldn't) get blamed for anything I say or do.

 

Respect for the Federal worker

The NextGen Public Service Awards will be awarded soon, and I was asked to do a little video thanking people for their service.

Here's the video, couple minutes, maybe indulge me by taking a look:

The gist is the Fed workers don't get no respect, and that's way unfair.

In the video I extend my respect, and suggest that Feds can get the respect they've already earned by posting good news regarding their work in social media.

Then, they can ask friends, including me, to further Share and retweet those posts.  (I'm already doing so for multiple agencies.)

Please bring your Public Affairs Officers into the loop; remember that their jobs are already really tough.

If anyone gives you crap, Blame Craig.

(and yes, the "don't get no respect" thing is a Rodney Dangerfield reference.)

The Road to Hell's Paved With Good Intentions

Hey, recently I wrote a blog post outlining some of my philosophies, and mentioned that there was more to come. I figure I should follow through.

On Time Management and Effectiveness - 

When I think about effective orgs, I ask, do they have the ability to actually get things done? Because that's not true of a lot of nonprofits or other well intentioned people or groups.

A lot have good intentions, but there's a saying that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. It's important to mean well, but also have the ability to get stuff done.

Cole Valley update, by the wife...

Cole Valley update, by the wife…

Let's say if an org smells good, in that direction, then I turn to the people who actually know stuff, the team around me. I may have some inclination that a group can get stuff done, but I'm not a nonprofit expert.

When looking for effectiveness, I look for people's ability to conduct themselves briefly and well. If you can articulate what you're about in 45 seconds or less, then I'm more generous time-wise and I try to be a nicer person. But anyone you want resources from will be judging you based on how well you can articulate yourself.

On Passion and My Sunset Years- 

I'm kind of tired of passion, especially as I enter my sunset years. But the deal is, you really want commitment from people. You want the excitement, but then they need to follow through. Following through is the hard part, and that's what I look for.

In addition to passion or excitement, I'm looking for commitment. People can get excited about something, realize it's hard, then that passion might not count for anything.

By the way, when I talk about the sunset years, I'm not far from claiming my AARP discount. I'm not kidding as much as you think I am.

5 Things You Should Know About the Military Consumer Campaign

Folks, "today's service members and their families must be extra vigilant in guarding against scams and predatory lending practices. With separation from family and friends, frequent relocations, the stresses of deployment and a steady paycheck, scam artists are often quick to target [these communities]." Cmdr. Peter Hoegel says this over on the Department of Defense's website in his article, 5 things you should know about the Military Consumer Campaign.

Photo illustration courtesy of the Office of Military Community and Family Policy

Photo illustration courtesy of the Office of Military Community and Family Policy

This has to do with bad actors ripping off service members and their families.

Cmdr. Hoegel, Deputy Director, Office of Family Policy/Children and Youth, continues his article by saying:

As members of the military community, we understand the importance of being mission-ready.  It’s worth taking a minute to remember that the financial readiness of service members and families is a key contributor to mission readiness.   Especially for deployed service members, knowing that finances are secure and that the families back at home are financially stable gives them peace of mind and allows them to focus on the important tasks at hand.

What is the Military Consumer Campaign?

The Military Consumer Campaign is designed to empower our military community by offering tips and tools to becoming informed consumers.  This is the second year the Federal Trade Commission is sponsoring the campaign.  As part of DoD’s larger, year-round financial readiness campaign, the Military Consumer Campaign strives to educate the military community to help service members and their families make informed decisions when it comes to financial products and services.  In addition, the campaign will shed light on common scams that target the military community.

Who is involved in the Military Consumer Campaign?

The Department of Defense has teamed up with the Federal Trade Commission, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Office of Service member Affairs, and the Consumer Federation of America.  All of us at these organizations are committed to supporting service members and their families through financial education, as well as aggressively addressing scams and fraud directed at the military community.  Collectively, these organizations provide considerable knowledge and expertise at no cost to our military community.

Why is the Military Consumer Campaign important?

Educating our military community on financial topics is key to helping service members and their families steer clear of scams. In 2013, the Federal Trade Commission received more than 72,900 consumer complaints from our military community with identity theft continuing to top the list with more than 22,000 of those complaints.  Other top complaint categories for the military community include debt collection, imposter scams, banks and lenders, credit bureaus, information furnishers and report users; and auto-related complaints.  The Military Consumer Campaign is designed to use this information and better educate our community to prevent these types of scams in the future.

When does the campaign kick off?

As a lead up to the Military Consumer Protection Day, the Federal Trade Commission is sponsoring:

  • The official kick-off of the Federal Trade Commission’s Military Consumer Campaign, includes but not limited to, A Twitter “Town Hall” chat that starts at 2 p.m. EDT on July 16, 2014.  Follow the Twitter chat with hashtag #MCPD2014.

Other events currently scheduled are:

  • Wright-Patterson AFB and their local Federal Trade Commission field office are planning an informational fair on July 16, 2014.
  • Navy Federal Credit Union is sponsoring “Shred Days” in Norfolk and New London, and the Federal Trade Commission, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority and Better Business Bureau San Antonio are joining with others to host a fair at Joint Base San Antonio on Sept. 23, 2014.

Consumer protection is important year-round, and the department is pleased to support the Military Consumer Campaign as we support the Consumer Federation of America’s Military Saves Campaign. Check with your Personal Financial Management Program for information on local kickoff events, and watch Military Consumer website for ongoing information.

Where can I find more information on the Military Consumer Campaign?

The Military Consumer website offers a whole host of resources for the military community, materials for service providers, and a blog that addresses timely issues as well as tips. Their resources come from more than 30 federal, state and municipal agencies, consumer advocates and military support organizations.

The Know-How page looks at purchases and divides them into topics, including vehicles, banking, saving and investing, and more. A brief look through their auto purchasing section provides users with information on Lemon Laws, car-buying tips and odometer fraud, just to name a few. The Military Consumer website is a valuable tool for all of the military community, offering new tips for some and solid reminders for others.

There is great freedom in living within our means, and financial education is just one of the tools to help you improve your financial picture.  Get involved in Military Consumer Protection Day events this year and take advantage of the beneficial resources this campaign has to offer.  If there aren’t any events near you, visit the Military Consumer website or your local Personal Financial Management Program for more information.

And remember that Military OneSource financial counselors are available for counseling at no cost year-round by visiting the website or calling 800-342-9647.  Take a look, contact us and don’t forget to share the information with other in our military community.