Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Maybe McCain gets it, Obama seems to, maybe Clinton doesn't
Zakaria: The End of Conservatism Newsweek.com:
"Conservative slogans sound anachronistic in the context of today's problems, like an old TV show from the 1970s."
And, an interesting history of the Democrats candidate selection process and shifts in party loyalties among various groups of voters:
Will: How McGovern Made This Newsweek.com:
"He thinks he could have won in 1972 with a running mate called 'the most trusted man in America'—Walter Cronkite."
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Former Racer Fritz Kling Diagnosed With Terminal Brain Cancer, Benefit Scheduled
A bank account (#4532119619 at Citizens Bank, 3015 East Saginaw Street, Lansing, Michigan 48912) and a Paypal account (firstname.lastname@example.org) have been set-up to receive donations to the Kling family.
First real memory of Fritz was mid 70’s, and visiting his Dad, Fred, at their place on Dawn Ave. in East Lansing. They had a nice shop, seems it was almost as big as the house and a bit of a hangout for motorcyclists.
Note that these were motocrossers and road racers, not “1 percenters”
Fred rode big Macao’s (Motocross) and Honda 750 Four (Road racing)
Well, here was young Fritz, about 5yrs old, on a Honda Q50 minibike
He’d hold the throttle wide open then jam it in gear, doing little wheelies.
I commented that he was likely to break the gearbox, to which he replied, “It’s OK, my Dad’s a mechanic.”
Note: maybe 20 years later, taking a friend to a local road race, Fritz was by now an established racer and I told my friend the story. Fritz was standing nearby, and said, “I still say that…”
So I watched this kid grow up, become an awesome racer, esp. considering his size; he must have been 6’4” and over 200 lbs… not a jockey.
I was never much into Motocross, don’t think I ever saw him race there.
But Fritz was a constant presence when we went road racing as GTRacing.
Endurance (everything from 3hour races to full 24hours), and some sprints too.
I recall as a growing teen, his mom Carol would pack two large Igloo coolers, one for Fred and me, one just for Fritz.
When I’d take my daughters to the races, and before Fritz was racing, he was enamored with the kids. He’s probably about 8 years older than my eldest.
I’ll have to fill in with some racing memories.
For now, here’s a vignette
Sometime early 90’s at Daytona
Watching from the infield, at our favorite spot inside the “hook”
We were there with Malcolm another racing buddy (rode Endurance races with Fred). During warm-ups he commented that Fritz wasn’t really going, that he could come through the hook a full gear up.
A bit later, it was the race (or maybe it was qualifying?) , and Fritz came through flying… Malcolm turned too me and simply said, “never mind”
During the era of the F-USA series, one where the rules were essentially “anything goes” and Fritz was riding what came to be know as the YamaMonster (need to check on size squeezed into a 750 frame I think).
Anyway, for a couple of years, Fritz’s record was 75% wins of the races he showed up for.
I recall that he had played Hockey, as did his dad.
When riders tried to bump or move him around on the track, his combination of size and style he would simply look like … “bring it on” and bump and shove right back… well over 100 MPH.
Fritz was strong, one of those who could and did use his knee pucks
I recall him loosing the front end, putting weight on his knee and tucking the front back in.
Daytona, must have been ‘90
His wife Tina was VERY pregnant and back home.
Well, she made arrangements to fly down
I picked her up at the airport, and had her waiting at the motel when he got home from the races … he was near speechless.
Fritz was winning races, but would have recurring numbness and concentration problems
Doctors didn't have a good answer
Seems he finally got a scan... brain tumor
Well, he went and had the operation delayed, until he could go to the fall races at Daytona.
I seem to recall that in recovery, Doctor showed him the local paper with (very rare) sport section coverage of his win..."so this is why you put it off"
The above are memories, subject to error
Will post more later
Other's here: fritz kling benefit
Sunday, February 24, 2008
Shirley & I toured on our honeymoon... most impressive
Fortune - October 17, 2005:
Santiago Calatrava Architect
What is the ultimate building?
'The Hagia Sophia [in Istanbul] is an achievement virtually without precedent: a great building that is introverted, as if you were entering a body, so that the experience is all about discovering the unbelievable space within. The sequence of your entrance, the articulation of the different volumes, and the vaulting create a single space of richness and complexity that no other building has achieved. It is a tremendously moving experience, which I thought about very much in working on the World Trade Center Transportation Hub.'"
Much more here: Hagia Sophia - Wikipedia
Saturday, February 23, 2008
"West Texan interaction is all about mastering two arts. [A] Being genuinely friendly and courteous, especially to women, children and the elderly. [B] Speaking with as few words as possible. You need to be able to do both, and do them well, or else they look at you funny. Again, not a bad combo to have."
Intrade data this AM is 82-18 Barack/Hillary
But it is on folks minds
Hillary Clinton - Bill Clinton - Presidential Election of 2008 : "“Do we really want a rerun of that soap opera?” Among friends and acquaintances talking through their presidential choices, it often comes down to this: excited to have two such inspiring candidates as Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, they all roll their eyes at the melodramatic baggage that comes along with the former first couple. Not merely for the undecided voters among us, but for everyone involved, I think the situation calls for a deus ex machina solution drawn straight from the soaps themselves. Whisking a star offstage — often to some dire fate or unspecified location — is the tried-and-true secret to rescuing a flagging story line. For a campaign badly in need of an upswing, the moment has come for Hillary to declare plans to dispatch Bill to Africa once she takes office."
Small Vendors Feel Pinch of Clinton’s Money Troubles :
"Mr. Semetis catered a Clinton event, a rally she did not attend, at the offices of District Council 37, the public employees’ union, on Dec. 15, charging the campaign $2,300, plus $192.63 in tax. Officials promised him that his business, Sale & Pepe Fine Foods, would be paid by check or credit card in a couple of weeks. After a few weeks passed, he started calling to see about the holdup."
In the meantime... better to be a consultant
Donors Worried by Clinton Campaign Spending:
“We didn’t raise all of this money to keep paying consultants who have pursued basically the wrong strategy for a year now,” said a prominent New York donor. “So much about her campaign needs to change — but it may be too late.”"
"The advertising firm owned by Mandy Grunwald, the longtime media strategist for both Mrs. Clinton and Bill Clinton, the former president, has collected $2.3 million in fees and expenses, and is still owed another $240,000."
More Americans Are Giving Up Golf :
"The problem was not a game of golf. It was the game of golf itself.
Over the past decade, the leisure activity most closely associated with corporate success in America has been in a kind of recession.
The total number of people who play has declined or remained flat each year since 2000, dropping to about 26 million from 30 million, according to the National Golf Foundation and the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association."
Friday, February 22, 2008
We both agreed it was very much a "Chatham Moon"
This is sub of larger image:
CHATHAM FINE ART
Spring Moonrise over Sangre de Cristo Mountains
Native Americans call it Snow Moon
Names for Full Moons
Great time of year
Quiet, crisp and clean
I love the freshness of the air, crisp in my nose, encourages deep breathing
Crunch of the snow underfoot
Give me a day of 20 degrees over clammy 40 anytime
Trading the World for a Cabin in the Woods - New York Times:
"It's my first night in the cabin, and I can’t sleep. The quiet is too loud, as if I were holding a conch shell tight over each ear, and any sounds that do seep through — a wet bulge of snow sliding off a fir tree, the pop of a log in our blazing wood stove — send me tossing and turning, a skittish city mouse in the country."
Guess I'm not a city boy, although we enjoy our "often annual" week or so in Manhattan.
My comparison is to our living on a beautiful lake, surrounded by National Park (Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore) with our high speed cable/wifi internet, but peace and quiet.
Weekends are at our cabin, a few miles away.
We drive to it, it has running water, LP heat as well as the big cozy fireplace, stove and coffeemaker, but no phone, no cable.
Sits next to our 50 acre woodlot, plenty of snowshoe and cross country in winter, hiking around in summer.
Preserved forever via our Conservation Easement with steep slopes, varied ecosystems(wetlands to pines, to hardwoods).
This afternoon looks good for skis or snowshoes and a hike on the frozen lake, all fresh and white.
Evening retreat to the cabin and a bottle of wine.
What a difference
My replies and thoughts inserted
I saw the end of the Debate last night on CNN, and fell asleep on the hotel room bed while Anderson Cooper and his coterie of opinionators blabbed about how both contestants performed. When I woke up a few minutes ago, seven hours later, it was still going on. I switched over to ESPN and saw another bunch of opinionators doing the same thing, only the subject was basketball. Only the content was different. The format was the same. So were the metaphors. Sports and war.
Yup, except that I watched from start (multi-tasking as usual) and switched off about the same time as Doc zoned out. Didn't need too much of being told what to think. I do listen to a bit of the commentators, as they follow this stuff professionally and my pick up things I miss , changes in text/tone.
I esp. like folks like David Gergen, as he's been at this for a good long time (both sides of the isle)
Yet what I saw, when Hillary said — with grace and apparent sincerity — that it was “an honor” to be running against Barack Obama, and that “Whatever happens, we’re going to be fine”, was the beginning of a concession. It was hedged, for sure. She clearly still wants to win Ohio and Texas. But the writing is on the wall, and it says Barack Obama is not only going to be the Democratic candidate, but the next President of the United States as well.
Agree on Hillary, almost looked like she can read the handwriting on the wall, and ... looks like Bill's handwriting.
The change won’t just be symbolic. It will be substantive. One thing that’s so appealing about Obama is that his candidacy subordinates race, subordinates the differences that have divided us for so long. It doesn’t trivialize them, but it does put them in the category of Stuff We Can Move Past, because we have work to do.I'm looking forward (likely day dreaming) to a campaign where Obama and McCain hold a civil discourse on where we are going, the role of government and the role of citizens.
My memory (from his Autobiography I believe) is that Goldwater was to travel the country (same plane) with Kennedy to hold a series of debates.
We have a unique, in "modern" times election at hand, no incumbent or VP running. Time for an open and fair discussion/debate on philosophy of governance.
Hopefully both Obama and McCain are both removed enough from the "party machines" that we can watch a civil and reasoned campaign.
Lock the Chuck Schumers and Limbaugh's in a room and throw away the key till December.
I think Dave’s analysis is correct. And he’s right to call the challenge United States 2.0. Maybe we can see our way to something wonderful, instead of a continued struggle. For Dave that’s a new Democratic government. I’m looking for a government that’s energized around facing three very different but overlapping problems.
First, that the U.S. is no longer the only superpower — and that superpower itself will no longer be defined by military might of the conventional sort. War will be different. Might will be different. Ending our worst problems in Iraq will only be the start of it. We need a new relationship with the rest of the world, and better models for understanding the problems there. (I suggest that Barack consult Thomas. P.M. Barnett for help with that.)I differ here, maybe in nuance. Militarily, we are the only "superpower", economically the world is more diverse, and that is a good thing. Politically, we have image problems, but people still want to come here not leave.
I agree 100% on Tom Barnett for worldview.
Having corresponded with Tom, I take the view that this is the Sino-American Century.
Contrary to the fear-mongers and the military-industrial complex that needs a "dance partner" to justify weapon systems, the Sino-American relationship is one of partnership, not competition.
China wants to regain it's historical position as a major world player, and America, due to it's fortunate geo-political situation, and open, democratic, free market (despite all it's flaws) is the model to follow.
There are reasons that we are the "policeman" of the world, and why our actions are subsidized by others (such as China).
I could go into a long discourse on this, but that is for another time.
Second, that the U.S. must restore both its moral and technical stature, both of which have slipped badly in the last few years.
Concur, but with our world class universities, we may not be as far off as it may appear. Moral yes ... there are problems and I have issues with the "dumbing down" of our our education system.
Third, that seas will rise as ice continues to melt in the Earth’s polar regions, and that this requires far more than “fighting global warming”. If we wish to avoid famine, war over shrinking lands and a global ecological breakdown, we need to think decades and even centuries ahead. Our species has never done that. Instead it has eaten the planet’s resources like a plague of locusts. That will have to change, or nature’s human experiment will fail.
Here I'm still a skeptic, but maybe that's in part due to a cold winter, and looking out on a beautiful frozen lake.
Time will tell.
All three require leadership of a sort we have not seen since Reagan. I hope Barack Obama is up for it. Because it’s going to be a very hard job.
It's time to break the molds of entitlements (both citizens and corporations), to look for new solutions, new mindsets, to look forward, not back.
Good piece Doc
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Gadget giant Sharper Image files for bankruptcy - Feb. 20, 2008:
"(FORTUNE Small Business) -- Sharper Image Corp (SHRP)., the San Francisco-based gadget retailer famous for its Razor Scooters and a line of air purifiers, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Tuesday after posting net losses for three consecutive years.
The company's stock plunged 72% on the news, ending the day at to $0.41 per share, after closing yesterday at $1.44.
Sharper Image had $251.5 million in assets and $199 million in debt as of Jan. 31, according to last night's filing in U.S. bankruptcy court in Wilmington, Delaware. The company plans to continue conducting business as usual while developing a reorganization plan, according to a press release."
Microsoft is not a "Tech" investment
MuSoft makes money selling the same old thing, like a bank.
Something disruptive, like a Linux OS would upset the applecart.
Social tools like Facebook/LinkedIn are "Tech"
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Scientists Would Turn Greenhouse Gas Into Gasoline - New York Times:
"Gasoline, it turns out, is an almost ideal fuel (except that it produces 19.4 pounds of carbon dioxide per gallon). It is easily transported, and it generates more energy per volume than most alternatives. If it can be made out of carbon dioxide in the air, the Los Alamos concept may mean there is little reason to switch, after all. The concept can also be adapted for jet fuel; for jetliners, neither hydrogen nor batteries seem plausible alternatives."
Portable power vs. central power.
"The Democratic Party should convert its contests to the winner-take-all format the Republicans largely use. The proportional representation system breeds the same kind of paralysis when used to nominate a candidate as it once caused when the French tried to select a premier during the Fourth Republic."
Over 20 Prime Ministers in 12 years
French Fourth Republic - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
"Although the Fourth Republic oversaw an era of great economic growth in France and the rebuilding of its industry, it is best remembered for its constant political instability and inability to take bold decisions in controversial areas — most notably decolonization."
Study: Religion colors Americans’ views of nanotechnology (Feb. 15, 2008):
"Is nanotechnology morally acceptable?
For a significant percentage of Americans, the answer is no, according to a recent survey of Americans' attitudes about the science of the very small."
Note: first link is to Weekly Standard, bastion of neo-cons, owned by Rupert Murdock.
But interesting thread, esp. as I tend to question "conventional wisdom".
The Weekly Standard: "January Was Wicked Cold"
"This is yet one more indication of the intensity of planet-wide cooler temperatures seen in January 2008, particularly in the Northern Hemisphere, which has seen record amounts of snow coverage extent as well as new record low surface temperatures in many places.
Which has had the not surprising effect of restoring much of the sea ice lost last summer. The CBC reports:
Satellite images are showing that the cold spell is helping the sea ice expand in coverage by about 2 million square kilometres, compared to the average winter coverage in the previous three years.
It's nice to know that the ice is recovering," Josefino Comiso, a senior research scientist with the Cryospheric Sciences Branch of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Centre in Maryland, told CBC News on Thursday.
"That means that maybe the perennial ice would not go down as low as last year."
The above led me to:
GISS Land-Ocean Index dives in Jan08, exceeding drops for UAH and RSS satellite data: Watts Up With That?: see discussion
Is the sun quieter?
Seems so, few sunspots (almost none)
While we are at a normal minimum between cycles (23 and 24) there are questions about when/if they will trend up.
Previous, extended, quiet periods have been long cold spells (Maunder/Dalton)
Will it happen again?
Dalton Minimum Returns:
"James A. Marusek, a Nuclear Physicist and Engineer, has written and interesting paper on solar variability and the climate impacts. You can see the past cool and warm periods in the graph below. Are we past the maxima in 2000 and now on the down slope leading to more cooling? The sun remains quiet and the longer that quiet persists, the increased probability we will have more global cooling."
Only time will tell
Meanwhile, data can be found here: Data @ NASA GISS: GISS Surface Temperature Analysis: Graphs
Last update about a month ago, so too early to tell.
Monday, February 18, 2008
With an approval rating below that of Bush 43 (Congress), can the Dems do anything but oppose?
Democrats Should Read Kipling - New York Times:
"To govern is to choose, a Democrat of an earlier generation, John F. Kennedy, famously remarked. Is this generation of Democrats capable of governing?"
Note: I like Hannock's work, but prefer Chatham's
Bottom line, buy what you like, and the critics be damned.
The only ones who listen to them are know-nothings and each other.
Portrait of an A-List Artist - October 17, 2005:
"Are Hannock's paintings too derivative? Too accessible? Certainly a devotee of the avant-garde would say so. And it's true that neither the Museum of Modern Art nor the Whitney, the two pantheons of contemporary art, have Hannock's paintings in their collections. Several prominent art critics contacted by FORTUNE either didn't want to talk about Hannock or hadn't heard of him. When I explained to the critic Robert Hughes that many wealthy collectors own Hannock's work, he responded, 'The taste of the American rich is shit.' Ah, well, that.
William Lauder, a serious collector whose father, Leonard, just happens to be chairman of the Whitney, has a blunt message for critics: 'I don't care what they say. I like Steve's work a great deal. I don't buy paintings to make the critics happy.'"
Contrast to this
Where we have the Thyssen's ... collect for the sake of collecting.
"There was plenty of money to buy art. Heinrich's heir, Heini, inherited hundreds of paintings in 1947, but he wanted more, and he wanted them quickly. At the climax of his passion, he was adding to the collection at the rate of a painting a week, ending up with 1,500 works.
Mr Litchfield declares that his role was as Thyssen's confessor. He spins an extraordinary tale of great industrial wealth, compulsive acquisition of art, decorated with complicated sub-plots involving serial adultery and divorce."
The Thyssens | Bad blood, bad art | Economist.com:
"Thyssen's fourth wife and her lover took a commission from the seller on all Thyssen's purchases, of which there were no fewer than 800 during their marriage. Apparently, he bought a Jackson Pollock merely because he was intrigued by an account of Pollock's death. And Thyssen's fifth wife, Carmen Cervera, a former Miss Spain known as Tita, refused to visit the hairdresser because she feared that hair and nail clippings could be used to prepare a curse on her and her husband."
"What counts now, however, is whether the paintings in Madrid are any good. Apart from the professional boosters, critics have not been enthusiastic: “minor works of major artists and major works of minor artists,” said one.
The remarkable generosity of the Spanish government has meant that everything can be hung simultaneously, but not everything is worth showing. (And there is even more on show since Baroness Thyssen arranged the sale of her share of the collection to Spain.) On a recent visit, this reviewer found gallery after dreary gallery so dispiriting that there was no zest left to appreciate the sudden appearance of a fine painting. The Prado and the Museo Reina Sofia are only a short walk away."
followed by ABC News: This Week with George Stephanopoulos
(DVR and zapping commercials)
Yesterday we added Meet The Press with Tim Russert
as the Democrat's nomination process is "interesting"
I guess Meet the Press was the benchmark, Chuck Schumer (for Clinton) was snarky while Dick Durban (Obama) was calm and reasoned.
Various blogs this AM
Dick Morris (no "Friend of Hill") : TheHill.com - Why Hillary will lose
On Schumer (who is already calling it Bush-McCain, I thought Cheney was VP)
Althouse: "Each candidate chooses the rule at the moment that is in their self-interest."
On the Democrats and African-Americans:
Pajamas Media: The Clintons' Unforgivable Crime:
"...former president’s racially tinged attacks on Barack Obama risk “setting black America free from the Democrat Party” — and Dems are choosing survival over the Clintons."
Then one on competency... ready on day one:
The Daily Dish | By Andrew Sullivan:
"Several top Clinton strategists and fundraisers became alarmed after learning of the state's unusual provisions during a closed-door strategy meeting this month, according to one person who attended."
"While they were busy “discovering” the rules, however, the Obama campaign had people on the ground in Texas explaining the system, organizing precincts, and making Powerpoints. I know because I went to one of these meetings a week ago. I should have invited Mark Penn I suppose. (ed. Maybe foresight is an obsolete macrotrend.)"
Then there is this from NYTimes Week in Review on Dem's and "Super-delegates" (aka "Adult Supervision".
Good piece on all the rule making, remaking and re-remaking since summer of '68, mostly for the Democrats
Show Me the Delegate Rules and I’ll Show You the Party - New York Times
Republicans choose to get it over early
Sunday, February 17, 2008
This shot is shaded a bit too blue
I tried to capture the strong white line as the horizon
But it was not a great "outside" day
Mid 30's and drizzle
So dove into another pile of magazines
tore and tossed at least a year and a half of Economist
Piles are shrinking
This one from Aug Fortune on real estate
Was it a bubble or not?
THE GREAT REAL ESTATE DEBATE - August 8, 2005:
"Housing's definitely headed for a crash! Or is it? Two of FORTUNE's in-house experts battle it out."
"As for the fundamentals driving the boom, the biggest fundamental in housing is rents--it's what earnings are to share prices. Eventually people won't spend $1 million on a house they can rent for $2,000 a month. Historically the ratio of housing prices to rents in the U.S. has been around 12.5; since 2000 that number has jumped to over 17!
Expect the number, once again, to go back to the mean."
This is now:
Home price declines steepen in fourth quarter - Realtors - Feb. 14, 2008:
"Home prices in steepest quarterly drop
Realtors say prices fell faster and in more places over last part of 2007."
"The national median price drop of 5.8%, to $206,200 from $219,300, was the steepest ever recorded by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), which has been compiling the report since 1979.
NAR officials blamed the liquidity squeeze that began last summer for much of the drop. Home buyers had trouble obtaining mortgage financing, especially for more expensive properties."
Saturday, February 16, 2008
Dennos Museum Center:
"Poetry of Landscape: The Seasons - Paintings by Russell Chatham"
Here is a review
Then we had a bit of clearing weather this afternoon, which inspired this
Shot just after 6PM
I did some work on exposure to try to catch the "Chatham Feel"
But work by the master is here: Chatham Fine Art
Plaques at the exhibit included the following
“A Russell Chatham painting speaks of necessity. When we see it we know it had to be. We know that this vision could not have been left to languish without being given form. Chatham’s paintings are neither objective nor subjective. They are not a naturalists reporting or rendering of a landscape which endeavors to show us ‘how it really was,’ when of course it wasn’t. it’s as if a consciousness in the landscape itself…in trees and mountains and rivers … breaks free of appearances and speaks through the consciousness of the artist. A circuit is completed… and if we are awake to it… the vision becomes ours.
Dan Gerber – poet, novelist
"We cannot look at the land without seeing a Chatham painting ... without his cool and luminescent vision."
Tim Cahll, travel adventure writer
"In Russell Chatham's best work the painting is so inconsolably austere and authoritative that we have a choice of turning away or temporarily losing our personalities, the latter which, I propose, is the main reason for enduring a work of art."
Jim Harrison, novelist, screenwriter, poet
"There is no intrusion of the artist, no self-declaration. When I see a Chatham painting I feel my own mind expounded in the natural world. It works the way a good poem works, not to blind or startle or amaze - or as is frequently the case, to bore - but to make us say, 'Ah! Yes. That's right! I had forgotten. Thank You"
Dan Gerber, poet and novelist
"What Russell Chatham paints are not landscapes so much as self-portraits of the mountains and sky and plains. His work is deceptively simple. We don't look at a Chatham painting and say it looks like a particular place in Montana or California - places he has chiefly worked. It shows us how to look at Montana or California with new eyes. 'The landscape listens,' as Emily Dickinson said, 'and we hear it call our own name.'"
Dan Gerber, poet and novelist
"All really good painting is spiritual... A painter has to look inside for his subject...into the private, poetic vein that's essential to a true artist."
All of the above ring true, and trigger my desire to capture some of the same visions
Different medium, and all I can try to do is "capture the moment" then tweak the settings a bit here and there.
Friday, February 15, 2008
(as investment above and beyond conservation and watershed issues)
"What pension plans like about timberland, as opposed to timber stocks, is its relatively stable value. When timber prices fall, tree farmers can delay harvesting their crop, and during that time the value of the tree expands as it grows. "If a tree stays in the ground an extra year, there's just more of it next year, and the quality of the tree is better," says Jerry Miccolis, a Morristown (N.J.) financial adviser who invests in timber stocks. "Tree farmers can afford to wait till the price cycle comes their way." The typical tree grows 7% a year, and timberland's steady returns have been double that over the past two decades."
"A record eight million Americans -- some 20,000 people every day -- relocated to another state last year. So where are these families headed and why? The general picture is this: Americans are continuing to flee the Northeast and Midwest, while the leading destinations continue to be Southern and Western states.
The United Van Lines study finds that the biggest population loser last year was Michigan, where two families moved out of the state for every new family that moved in. Americans are also fleeing New York, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Illinois. Without interviewing the departed, it's impossible to know the reasons for this outward migration. No doubt overall economic prospects, climate, quality of life and housing prices play a role.
But one reason to conclude that taxes are also a motivator is because the eight states without an income tax are stealing talent from other states. They are Florida, Nevada, New Hampshire, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington and Wyoming, and each one gained in net domestic migrants. Each one except Florida -- which has sky-high property taxes on new homesteaders -- also ranked in the top 12 of destination states. The nearby table ranks the top five destination and departure states.
Politicians who think taxes don't matter might want to explain the Dakotas. North Dakota ranked second worst in out-migration last year, while South Dakota ranked in the top 10 as a destination. The two are similar in most regards, with one large difference: North Dakota has an income tax and South Dakota doesn't.
Here's another example. The only Pacific Coast state to lose migrant population in 2007 was California, which has the highest state income tax in the nation. This is the continuation of a dismal 10-year performance with nearly one and a half million Golden Staters leaving what was once the premier destination state in America.
Meanwhile, next door, Nevada was second among the states in new families -- and a big percentage of the new arrivals are Californians. Nevada has no income tax. High income Californians can buy a house in Las Vegas for the amount of money they save in three or four years by not paying California income taxes.
Now we have GM offering ALL 74,000 existing UAW members a buyout package, will those that still reside in Michigan want to stay or "head south"?
Or find someplace nice where they can stretch that package a bit further.
Michigan will continue with a gut wrenching series of changes, and none of us are sure of what our future will look like, but we have abundant water, a pleasant natural enviroment and good location within North America.
We have a skilled manufacturing workforce and great institutions of higher learning.
But we need to restructure the tax base, shift more to the consumption side from the income side.
Let the tourist and seasonal residents pay more of the burden.
Let those who live and work here pay less.
Encourage jobs, business and retirees to stay.
Workhorse "Fighter Bomber" for the last 30 or so years, the 15
Over 180 are currently grounded due to structural weakness which has caused several to break up in mid-air.
Looks like it would cost $260,000 per aircraft to fix (Air Force estimate $47.3 million to extend service life some 20 years)
Now, the new toy, the F22 costs anywhere from $150 to 300 million ... EACH (price depends on assumptions).
What's wrong with this picture?
Note that while following industry coverage of this "toy" there have been such far-fetched suggestions that it could be used to defeat IED (Improvised Explosive Devices ... roadside bombs).
Yup ... at supersonic speeds !
AF Gen. Gets Slap-Down from the Big Boss
I LOVE it!
From today's LA Times:
In an intensifying dispute over weapons priorities, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates on Thursday privately rebuked a four-star general for suggesting the Air Force intended to buy twice as many sophisticated F-22 Raptor aircraft as the Bush administration had approved, according to Air Force officials.
One senior defense official called the remarks by Gen. Bruce Carlson, who heads the Air Force command responsible for testing and developing new weapons, "borderline insubordination," because they contradicted a decision by the president.
In its 2009 budget submitted to Congress earlier this month, the White House approved multiyear plans to buy 183 of the stealthy new fighters at an estimated $140 million apiece. Many Air Force officials, however, continue to insist they need 381 of the F-22s to deter global threats.
The rebuke by Gates on Thursday, in a telephone call to Carlson's superior, reflects a deepening debate within the Defense Department over the direction of the military in the post-Iraq era. In particular, the clash over the F-22 -- the Air Force's premier fighter plane -- has become a microcosm of the argument over what kind of wars the United States is likely to encounter in the future.
With defense spending expected to decline as U.S. troops withdraw from Iraq, some in the Pentagon have argued for shifting money to high-end weapons systems, like fighters and Navy ships, that can be used if needed against rivals with larger militaries, like China and Russia.
Gates prefers a focus on equipment and personnel needed to wage low-grade counterinsurgencies, like Iraq, arguing that such fights are more likely to occur in the near future.
"The reality is we are fighting two wars, in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the F-22 has not performed a single mission in either theater," Gates told a Senate committee last week.
Carlson, however, told a group of reporters earlier in the week that the Air Force was "committed to funding 380" of the fighters, regardless of the Bush administration's decision.
Thursday, February 14, 2008
Remember, most of the value (talent) walks out the door every day. And MuSoft is not loved.
Will Yahoo! Feel the Love?
"The challenge is made all the more difficult because Microsoft and Yahoo would merge as two struggling rivals, trying to catch up in the online advertising business to an increasingly powerful Google. That, some experts say, could be an indication of troubles ahead. "Virtually all the deals from Hell are done by companies that are collapsing into each other's arms like a defeated prizefighter," says Robert F. Bruner, dean of the Darden Graduate School of Business Administration at the University of Virginia and author of Deals from Hell, a book that examines failed mergers."
Snow started again
If you look real real close, about 2/3 to the right on the "horizon" there's an ice fisherman
I'll stick to X-Country skis or snowshoes, keep moving to stay warm
Later, snow increased and now visibility down to quarter mile or less.
A quarter of what it was I took the shot
No wind, just steady snow
IT to Communications to "Digital Power". Biotech breakthroughs to nanotech developments.
Just read it.
Techno-Optimism - Forbes.com:
"Don't panic about subprime lending or rogue traders. This is a time to be optimistic. Prosperity and profit still depend, above all, on human ingenuity. Wetware is still the main asset you're holding in any well-diversified stock portfolio. No serious student of science technology can be anything but bullish about the long-term prospects for profit and growth in the ingenuity-driven economy."
"This disarray among Republicans, which may depress voter turnout or even spawn a protest splinter party, offers a fantastic opening to Democrats, if the party can only seize it. The galvanizing energy aroused by Barack Obama's thrilling coast-to-coast victories gives Democrats a clear shot at regaining the White House. However, the three-faced Hillary, that queen of triangulation, would be a nice big gift to Republicans, who are itching to romp all over the Clintons' 20-volume encyclopedia of tawdry scandals."
And ... Channeling Mayor Daley
"Vote early and vote often"
"Meanwhile, when will someone turn a punishing spotlight on the rampant abuse of absentee ballots in this and prior elections? The press was reporting before the California primary last week that there were up to 2 million absentee ballots. They presumably added to Hillary's margin in that state, because they were completed and mailed before Obama's late surge. But there needs to be far more stringent control of this questionable practice, which can be manipulated by aggressive party operatives trolling through working-class or immigrant neighborhoods."
"Anonymous Anonymous said...
Which brings me back to the point on age...
Move the retirement age up at least a decade, encourage folks to lead productive lives.
Tell that to someone who's stayed at the job they hate for 30 years in order to provide for their family or put their kids through college.
Increasing the retirement age might have economic benefits, but it will also have social costs that need to be considered. Retirement is the light at the end of the tunnel for many, many people."
1) Anonymous: feel free to leave a "True Name" I do when I comment on others blogs
2) sorry you have a job you hate.
This country does have a dynamic economy, may folks change jobs every day.
Back in the 90's I argued for our local university (Michigan State) to teach "how to learn" how to aquire new skills and knowledge. In large part because jobs are no longer static. Jack Welch was noted for saying that GE could not guarantee employment, but should strive to guarantee employ-ablity.
3) I would hope that when you retire from your hated job, that you can find productive and fullfilling activities that contribute to your community, not just "go fishing (or play golf or whatever).
Retire from the job, but not from life
There are people who can't retire, not for financial reasons, but because they love what they do.
Find a new career, new vocation, new activity.
"Punish" Michigan and Florida for moving primaries up.
As in ... your vote won't count.
Maybe they will count.
Then there is this "super-delegate" issue
Doesn't matter how the people vote, we can decide differently.
Well, as devout and practicing non-partisan, I guess it makes for good theater.
Obama’s Lead in Delegates Shifts Focus of Campaign - New York Times:
"With every delegate precious, Mrs. Clinton’s advisers also made it clear that they were prepared to take a number of potentially incendiary steps to build up Mrs. Clinton’s count. Top among these, her aides said, is pressing for Democrats to seat the disputed delegations from Florida and Michigan, who held their primaries in January in defiance of Democratic Party rules.
Mrs. Clinton won more votes than Mr. Obama in both states, though both candidates technically abided by pledges not to campaign actively there."
"I don't belong to any organized political party... I'm a democrat" ... Will Rogers
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
The End of Aging? New Hunt for Cure to Growing Old - Glenn Reynolds:
"Scientists have already identified more modest life extenders. It’s pretty thoroughly established that red wine’s resveratrol activates the SIRT-1 gene, which seems to clean out intracellular gunk. (The gene is also triggered by calorie restriction.) Studies show that rats dosed with resveratrol—or given low-calorie diets—seem to live longer and remain far more vital than ordinary rats."
The Daily Dish | By Andrew Sullivan
Glenn Reynolds reports on the latest in anti-aging research. Fascinating. One possible implication of extending life spans:
... on a societal level, the extension of peoples’ productive working lives could pay huge dividends. If people stay youthful longer, we’ll see less pressure on the stressed-out social security systems of most industrialized countries. If 65-year-olds were as vigorous as 35-year-olds, or even 45-year-olds, there would be no reason to fund their retirement. Pushing the retirement age back a decade or two could save trillions. And, of course, if you can actually reverse aging, the whole notion of retirement becomes obsolete.
Jumped to Glen's Instapundit
But before getting to the aging piece, spotted
Bob Krum (dunno him) Divided by itself
with following quote :
"No, I’m not surprised that a party that has spent four decades highlighting racial differences now finds itself divided by race."
Are we ready to move beyond "race politics" ?
Are Colin Powell and Condi Rice democrats ?
(just to name a couple high profile names)
"Dream ticket" ... McCain/Obama ?
Call it "beyond politics"
Note that I placed McCain first due to age.
Which brings me back to the point on age...
Move the retirement age up at least a decade, encourage folks to lead productive lives.
Don't follow the European early out model.
Took an "age estimate" quiz yesterday ... gave me guess for longevity of 95-100.
So if the average longevity use to be 70, and we do a little math
is 60 the new 45 ?
Layer on that I've been reading Rainbows End: Books: Vernor Vinge
Book is set in 2025
A main character would be my age (was in grad school in the '70's), recovering (via advances in bio-meds) from Alzheimer's, physically rejuvenated (maybe to look like his 20's)
With breakthroughs in medicine, who knows what may be terminal limits.
And what might be "too old" for politicians?
Monday, February 11, 2008
In a trial, a Southern small-town prosecuting attorney called his first witness, a grandmotherly, elderly woman to the stand. He approached her and asked, 'Mrs. Jones, do you know me?' She responded, 'Why, yes, I do know you, Mr. Williams. I've known you since you were a boy, and frankly, you've been a big disappointment to me. You lie, you cheat on your wife, and you manipulate people and talk about them behind their backs. You think you're a big shot when you haven't the brains to realize you'll never amount to anything more than a two-bit paper pusher. Yes, I know you.'
The lawyer was stunned. Not knowing what else to do, he pointed across the room and asked, 'Mrs. Jones, do you know the defense attorney?'
She again replied, 'Why yes, I do. I've known Mr. Bradley since he was a
youngster, too. He's lazy, bigoted, and he has a drinking problem. He can't build a normal relationship with anyone, and his law practice is one of the worst in the entire state. Not to mention he cheated on his wife with three different women. One of them was your wife. Yes, I know him.'
The defense attorney nearly died.
The judge asked both counselors to approach the bench and, in a very quiet voice, said,
'If either of you idiots asks her if she knows me, I'll send you both to the electric chair.'
Lawyer Sentenced in Kickback Scheme - New York Times:
"LOS ANGELES (AP) -- William Lerach, a former partner at a prestigious New York law firm, was sentenced Monday to two years in federal prison for his role in a lucrative kickback scheme involving class-action lawsuits against some of the nation's biggest corporations.
Lerach, 61, was also sentenced to two years probation, fined $250,000 and ordered to complete 1,000 hours of community service."
"Lerach, whose high-profile legal victories included a $7 billion judgment against now-defunct energy giant Enron Corp., pleaded guilty in October to one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice and make false statements.
"I pleaded guilty in this case because I was guilty," Lerach said before sentencing. "It was, as they say, felony stupid."
Stock goes down ... sue the company.
Stocks are only allowed to go up.
I, Cringely . The Pulpit . WYSIWYB | PBS
"In the end, what NuMetra's metrics will show is what we already know -- that there isn't enough ISP Internet bandwidth. The key is getting what we pay for and actually paying for it. The current system is built on marketing lies, and we're being told more lies about how to solve the resulting problems. The problem isn't transit costs or content distribution networks or peer to peer -- that's just BS.
I hope NuMetra is successful, but if it isn't here's an incredible business opportunity for a national broadband ISP with rational bandwidth provisioning that will simply acknowledge reality and fill a need.
What You Buy Is What You Get (WYBIWYG). It might work."
Doc Searls Weblog :
Will the Clinton Era come to a graceful end?
"It either gets very ugly now, or we will see unanticipated–and I suspect professionally saving–grace."
And Frank Rich piles on:
Next Up for the Democrats: Civil War - New York Times:
"A race-tinged brawl at the convention, some nine weeks before Election Day, will not be a Hallmark moment. As Mr. Wilkins reiterated to me last week, it will be a flashback to the Democratic civil war of 1968, a suicide for the party no matter which victor ends up holding the rancid spoils."
Advantage McCain (with Condi on the ticket?)
Sunday, February 10, 2008
About 2 degrees out, wind chill well into teens below maybe 20-30 below at times, white out conditions
Won't be getting snowblower out till l sometime tomorrow.
Saturday, February 09, 2008
The Sun Also Sets:
"R. Timothy Patterson, professor of geology and director of the Ottawa-Carleton Geoscience Center of Canada's Carleton University, says that 'CO2 variations show little correlation with our planet's climate on long, medium and even short time scales.'
Rather, he says, 'I and the first-class scientists I work with are consistently finding excellent correlations between the regular fluctuations of the sun and earthly climate. This is not surprising. The sun and the stars are the ultimate source of energy on this planet.'
Patterson, sharing Tapping's concern, says: 'Solar scientists predict that, by 2020, the sun will be starting into its weakest Schwabe cycle of the past two centuries, likely leading to unusually cool conditions on Earth.'
'Solar activity has overpowered any effect that CO2 has had before, and it most likely will again,' Patterson says. 'If we were to have even a medium-sized solar minimum, we could be looking at a lot more bad effects than 'global warming' would have had.'"
Friday, February 08, 2008
Thursday, February 07, 2008
Was about to flip "Rush" off the radio when word came that Romney was going to drop out of the race.
Rush started to sound like the Wicked Witch of the West ... started to melt down over prospect of John McCain as candidate.
So here's my "dream team" McCain - Obama
National Unity Ticket
McCain serves one term, Obama gets seasoned, then gets two terms
Far right goes bonkers, which is fine with most of the rest of the public.
What has our generation (early boomers) offered up ?
Gore (see prior posts for snide comments)
Maybe a dose of Chuck Barris and the Gong Show
Transcript of Lawrence Lessig Obama video.:
"So let's start with character. In particular I'm thinking about a certain kind of moral courage. The question of whether the candidate is calculating in the face of right, or whether in the face of knowing what's right or consistent with his or her principles, he or she chooses that answer regardless of the consequences."
Likens them to Carl Rove and swiftboating.
Transcript of Lawrence Lessig Obama video.:
"So in policy alone I'm not sure that there's any good reason to prefer the one over the other. Yet I still think it extraordinarily important that one win over the other: namely Barack over Hillary Clinton. For what's at stake here, I think, is something much more important than the particulars of some laundry list of policy disagreements that there might be between them."
So what is that something important — why should one support Barack over Hillary?
Well I think there are three factors to consider here: character, integrity, and what each candidate would do."
Wednesday, February 06, 2008
May disappear ...
When Republicans Endorse Obama | Newsweek Politics: Campaign 2008 | Newsweek.com
"Some prominent Republicans have caught Obama fever.
By Richard Wolffe
Newsweek Web Exclusive
Updated: 7:02 PM ET Feb 1, 2008
Susan Eisenhower is more than just another disappointed Republican. She is also Ike's granddaughter and a dedicated member of the party who has urged her fellow Republicans in the past to stick with the GOP. But now Eisenhower, who runs an international consulting firm, is endorsing Barack Obama. She has no plans to officially leave the Republican party. But in Eisenhower's view, Obama is the only candidate who can build a national consensus on the issues most important to her--energy, global warming, an aging population and America's standing in the world.
"Barack Obama will really be in a singular position to attract moderate Republicans," she told newsweek. "I wanted to do what many people did for my grandfather in 1952. He was hugely aided in his quest for the presidency by Democrats for Eisenhower. There's a long and fine tradition of crossover voters."
Eisenhower is one of a small but symbolically powerful group of what Obama recently called "Obamacans"--disaffected Republicans who have drifted away from their party just as Eisenhower Democrats did and, more recently, Reagan Democrats in the 1980s. They include lifelong Republican Tricia Moseley, a former staffer for the late Sen. Strom Thurmond, the one-time segregationist from South Carolina. Now a high-school teacher, Moseley says she was attracted to Obama's positions on education and the economy.
Former GOP congressman Joe Scarborough, who anchors MSNBC's "Morning Joe," says many conservative friends--including Bush officials and evangelical Christians--sent him enthusiastic e-mails after seeing Obama's post-election speeches in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. "He doesn't attack Republicans, he doesn't attack whites and he never seems to draw these dividing lines that Bill Clinton [does]," Scarborough told NEWSWEEK.
Plenty of Republicans are immune to the Obama swoon, of course. The Republican National Committee has emphasized a recent analysis suggesting that Obama had the most liberal voting record in the Senate last year. But even small numbers of Obamacans can help reinforce the candidate's unity message and bolster his "electability" argument. In Iowa, the campaign identified more than 700 registered Republicans who committed to caucusing for Obama (although staffers say they don't yet know how many showed up to vote). And in the Super Tuesday state of Colorado, campaign staffers say they found more than 500 erstwhile Republicans who were willing to switch their party registration.
Even if Republicans don't convert in more significant numbers, the friendly outreach may blunt the ferocity of GOP attacks. One senior aide to John McCain has already said he's reluctant to attack Obama: last year, McCain's adman Mark McKinnon wrote an internal memo promising not to tape ads against the Illinois Democrat if he were the nominee.
© 2008 Newsweek.com "
Detroit Invades Las Vegas - AutoWeek Magazine:
"If the automobile were invented today, I'm pretty sure it would debut right here at CES,' said Wagoner. 'Because more and more, that's exactly what today's cars and trucks are: highly sophisticated consumer electronics."
For some time, I've thought of cars that can be upgraded frequently, just download new software to add features.
But doesn't do much for UAW ...
Interview was in Aviation Week & Space Technology - subscription site (and clunky)
Found similar interview here.
Sums up why I've drifted away from following nanotechnology
I expect it to be developed by pharma/bio-tech industry.
Stuff I'm weak in as to knowledge base.
"Research in biology also could benefit the intelligence community. “Biology, someone said, is to this century what physics was to the last century in terms of the groundbreaking discoveries that change our understanding of how things work,” Nixon reveals."
While he started buy talking about MuSoft/Yahoo the ideas apply to many business ideas.
blog.pmarca.com: Silicon Valley after a Microsoft/Yahoo merger: a contrarian view:
"Build something of value -- something that people want, and something that will be profitable at the appropriate point -- and the world is yours.
Successful companies -- companies that have built something of value -- have many options. They can stay private and throw off dividends. They can go public. They can get acquired by big companies who suddenly decide, hey, that looks really valuable, let's buy that. They can sell minority stakes to big investors or strategic partners at very high valuations. All options that are typically not open to the startup that started with the goal of getting bought and didn't build something of independent value.
Or, reduced to a phrase: the best way to get bought is to not be for sale."
Tuesday, February 05, 2008
Clinton, Obama, Insurance - New York Times
"The principal policy division between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama involves health care. It’s a division that can seem technical and obscure — and I’ve read many assertions that only the most wonkish care about the fine print of their proposals."
The Cooper Concerns - New York Times
"I’m not a Hillary-hater. She’s been an outstanding senator. She hung tough on Iraq through the dark days of 2005. In this campaign, she has soldiered on bravely even though she has most of the elected Democrats, news media and the educated class rooting against her.
But there are certain moments when her dark side emerges and threatens to undo the good she is trying to achieve. Her campaign tactics before the South Carolina primary were one such moment. Another, deeper in her past, involved Jim Cooper, a Democratic congressman from Tennessee."
Doc Searls Weblog : Obamarama
Doc an I are a few weeks apart in age, some similar perspectives on life and the world.
No real love for either party, esp the extreme edges
Personally, I’m a devout and practicing non-partisan, with libertarian leanings.
Out of my pocket and out of my bedroom.
And I tend to accept Obama's contention that he can get Clinton's votes, she likely can't get all of his.
Now if he can just take Jack Welsh's suggestion to not bash corporations, but to recognize that they are made up of hard working people, providing goods and services...
Sunday, February 03, 2008
The Anatomy of a Search Engine:
"The Anatomy of a Large-Scale Hypertextual Web Search Engine
Sergey Brin and Lawrence Page
Computer Science Department, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305"
Downstate on Monday
Board meetings starting early Tues/Wed
Red Cedar Tech and Purity Foods
Dinner's related to
Chevrolet Equinox Fuel Cell Wins 2008 Green Car Vision Award | Green Car .com
Then back home for Fri breakfast meeting with
The Michigan Economic Development Corporation
Throw in business lunches (Purity's banker and with Earthy.com), and it was full week.
Friday, February 01, 2008
But worth saving.
WMD's were an issue.
Not only did everybody know they existed, but turns out that even if destroyed, they would exist again.
Buried WMD Scoop
February 1, 2008; Page A14
Journalists are taught never to "bury the lead." Yet it looks as if that's precisely what CBS's "60 Minutes" did in reporter Scott Pelley's fascinating interview Sunday with George Piro, the FBI agent who debriefed Saddam Hussein following his capture in December 2003.
The Lebanese-born Mr. Piro, one of only a handful of agents at the bureau who speaks Arabic, was able to wheedle information from Saddam over a matter of months through a combination of flattery and ego-deflation that worked wonders with the former despot. But as Bruce Chapman of the Discovery Institute first noticed, the most important news in the segment comes when Mr. Piro describes his conversations with Saddam about weapons of mass destruction. The FBI interrogator says that, while Saddam said he no longer had active WMD programs in 2003, the dictator admitted that he intended to resume those programs as soon as he possibly could.
Here's the relevant segment, which appears well down in the interview:
Mr. Piro: "The folks that he needed to reconstitute his program are still there."
Mr. Pelley: "And that was his intention?"
Mr. Piro: "Yes."
Mr. Pelley: "What weapons of mass destruction did he intend to pursue again once he had the opportunity?"
Mr. Piro: "He wanted to pursue all of WMD. So he wanted to reconstitute his entire WMD program."
Mr. Pelley: "Chemical, biological, even nuclear."
Mr. Piro: "Yes."
Iraq's active WMD program had been destroyed, mostly by U.N. weapons inspectors, sometime in the 1990s, but Saddam told Mr. Piro that he maintained a pretense of having those weapons mainly to keep Iran at bay. This isn't exactly news. The key point is Saddam's admission that an Iraqi WMD program remained a threat so long as Saddam remained in power.
Opponents of the war argue that none of this matters because Saddam and his ambitions were being "contained" by U.N. sanctions. Hardly. As the Los Angeles Times reported in December 2000, "sanctions are crumbling among U.S. allies, who have begun challenging them with dozens of unauthorized flights into [Iraq]."