The posts below are the original work and property of Rich Gamble Associates. Use of this content, in whole or in part, is permitted provided the borrower attribute accurately and provide a link. "Thoughts from under the Palm" are the educational, social, and political commentary by the author intended to provoke thought and discusion around character and leadership .

Thursday, January 8, 2015


An interested reader asked recently if I still had thoughts Beneath the Palm, or if indeed I even sat there anymore. How time flies. I thought I had turned away but briefly, yet a year has gone by. I debated continuing this column, it seemed unfair to publish on such an erratic and infrequent basis. Still, the matters to discuss grow more important by the day, I find my concerns mounting with every newscast.

After much hemming and hawing, I made my decision. I will continue to write it, so long as I have at least one interested reader. I will promise quarterly articles, four per year. I will try to do more, but no promises here.

The above question put me in mind of the coming new year, and caused me to look back at the old. 2014 was a blur. Yet a descriptive term comes immediately to my mind: enurement––as in acceptance, as in tolerating, as in giving up, as in thickening our skins and our consciences.

This past year, we as a globe, we as people have decided to accept more horrifying circumstances than in any other year, to my mind. We have become inured (or enured) to violence––whether from weather, or murder, or war.

This past year it seems we chose to accept our fate: to accept a useless and self-centered Congress, to accept random shootings on a weekly basis, to accept intolerance within and between religions, to accept being governed by the power of money and self-interest. We declined to make the hard choices, to make the necessary sacrifices.

It has been said from antiquity that every journey begins with the first step. That step may be a faltering,unsure step, but a step is a step, and the next one is too. President Obama’s step toward medicines and doctors and care for every ailing person may be akin to the first step of a bull in a china shop, but it is a step. The first step toward an effective immigration policy may have been slightly backward, but it was a step. The first step toward improving relationships with a country we have kept hostile on our borders for way too many years may be uneven, but it is a step.

Rather than holler when steps lack ballet-like grace, shouldn’t we instead complain if a first step is never taken? Shouldn’t we be upset with those who prevent others from taking a first step?

And so I ask: Where was that first step toward preventing angry and disturbed people from shooting crowds of innocents, or policemen, or each other? Where was that first step toward movement away from oil and gas to a more beneficial energy?  Where was that first step toward education to meet the specific needs of people in their own communities rather than the one-size-fits-all dictates of central government? And where was that first step toward understanding that ISIS is not the crisis, but rather our unwillingness to understand and tolerate intricate political situations and the multi-layered cultures of others before wading in?

Here is the challenge: to take my word for 2014, enurement, or inurement, and turn it into a different word for 2015, ensurement. Let’s ensure that first steps get taken, that those who shout down first steppers are shouted down themselves, that we can all find the courage to take first steps ourselves.

Well, interested reader, there it is. You asked for it. Yes, there will be more of these columns, because the fodder upon which they feed will not disappear. But if by some miracle it does, I will gladly relinquish the pen.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Bits About Bitcoin

I love this idea. I actually had a similar idea myself years ago, in concept only of course. When we think about all of our clumsy processes from internal combustion engines to flush toilets you wonder why something like Bitcoin hasn’t come along much sooner. But of course, we humans must be emotionally as well as physically ready for such change.

But about Bitcoin. Why allow a commercial institution like a bank to charge processing fees and exchange rates to use one’s own money? Why shouldn’t money be individualized like any other property we own? Why shouldn’t a currency gain value like a commodity from its desirability rather than from individual investment efforts?

But I’m getting ahead of myself.  A bit about Bitcoin. Bitcoin came along in 2009 from encryption written in code that allowed a virtual coin to be traced back to its origins. Everyone on the network has the means to account for every coin in an open ledger and each individual’s right to the coin in his/her wallet is recognized. Every participant in the network has a virtual wallet which is their key to access the Bitcoin.

In one sense this concept has been going on for years in the form of credit cards where no actual money changes hands but we assign the right to that money to another party by signing the card, and the bank verifies our claim that we have sufficient funds for the transaction (fees to the bank and credit card company). But with Bitcoin, a central bank is not needed because everyone on the network can see what’s in your wallet. And a Bitcoin does not depend upon account numbers and other data that can be stolen. The Bitcoin is an entity unto itself and once exchanged, that’s that.

With a growing dependence upon on-line marketing, Bitcoin, and similar currencies such as Litecoin and Peercoin, offer a simple solution for making purchases anywhere in the country and all around the world. I have long felt that currency is too clumsy and complex. Now, thanks to a bit of computer code, a simpler solution is at hand.

But will people buy into Bitcoin? Certainly not the financial institutions that make a living from fees for exchange and investment. Conceptually Bitcoin doesn’t offer such opportunities to these institutions. The currency will have to grow from grassroots efforts; of the people and for the people.