Everyone’s getting into it. Some people have been into it for awhile. Some haven’t. But, I think the best thing about blogging is that it gives everyone a way to carry on a conversation. All the time.
Today someone left me a comment. A great old friend from high school that I rarely get to see. She happened upon my site, dropped me a line, and lit up my life with experiences from her own. Her site led me to other Helenan’s sites. Their Pictures, their friends, their Montana. Seeing smiles, lives, and more experiences. An open door to endless ongoing conversations.
I spent the weekend at the Special Interest Group on Computer Science Education for work. I also got to hang out with a wonderful product marketing guru from my company. He’s a physicist by trade, but has honed his skills in product management for many years. He’s one of the most revered in the industry.
Dr. Ernie, as he’s called, has started a website/movement called Radical Centrism. And, quite frankly, I love it.
Radical Centrism is based on the premise that in every debate or exchange on global topics there is a radical and common center that can be reached. And thus, a global balance. This comes most of the time through one common truth that both arguments acknowledge, and one common falsity that both choose to consciously ignore.
A little kid is kicking the back of my seat. I can’t really fault his hyperactivity, I’m sure I annoyed quite a few people on planes as a kid. But, being from Montana, I didn’t have the chance to fly all that much. Times have changed.
STL is interesting. Seems to be deteriorating since the last time I was there. Sad in a way, as the architecture and history are fairly rich. The new mayor has taken an interest in changing this, and seems to be marketing/advertising the revitalization of a once “great city.” Billboards, ads on TV.
I can’t help but wonder how much just marketing this idea is costing the city. Why not put that money into actually changing the city? Re-vamping neighborhoods, cleaning the streets, concentrating on developing a fun urban community downtown. Attract youth. Seems this would be a more effective use of the city’s capital.
Running a city is just like running a company. Quality of life is your product. Why not change the product, innovate its design, revitalize why it was so great in the beginning? You have to engage with the customers on a level that makes a difference in their everyday lives. Don’t waste capital marketing changes you want to make. Make the changes, innovate the product. Your customers will love you, and you can spend less money marketing your revitalized product. People will talk about it, remember why they loved it in the first place. Then, they will tell their friends.
Restaurants all over the world compete with each other to see who can fill their menu with the biggest words possible. They also compete to stay in business. A quick Google search will show you that close to half of the restaurants in San Francisco close within 6 months of opening. How do you stay in business as long as the veritable Moose’s North Beach in San Francisco? Cut out the crap:
Scary. Is the one word to describe the lack of intelligence many members of the House Committee on Financial Services displayed in their questioning of Mr. Greenspan today. It was almost as if they had no idea what to ask about. Greenspan articulately answered questions which basically had no factual basis. He also fielded angry democratic banter, which predominantly made absolutely no sense. This disgusts me, especially coming from that side of the line.
In his second day of testimony on Capitol Hill. Greenspan was resolute, intelligent, and patient. As I said in my last blog, he displayed a vigilance in maintaining his opinion that we have a dire need to keep an eye on the increases in spending congress continues to make. Higher debt = problems in the future. Education = the future of our nation. Foreign investment is not so much a risk, but rather the propensity for Americans to invest in our OWN debt instruments presents a much more pertinent problem. Education is pivotal to the future of our great nation. He reiterated again that education is the only way to address inequality across the board. He stated that education is almost the most important issue we should be discussing.
There is one thing that I would like to point out to my general audience, which almost all of the members of congress missed. The Social Security fund is NOT liquid cash. The fund is generally retired into some kind of long-term treasury instrument, most often times a special flavor of bond desgined specifically for SS. But, congress is allowed to borrow against SS as it wishes. So, essentially they have this huge (1.5 trillion $ huge) pot of coin to borrow against. Just like when you or I have a large chunk of coin sitting in our savings account, or just like a credit card, you will think about spending that money. Groups behave the same way. So, Greenspan was resolute in pointing out that the privatization of these funds is a way to guarantee that this capital is pulled out of the federal budget pool. This can be pivotal to guaranteeing reduction in captial spending by congress. In turn guaranteeing a debt reduction. Which, he pointed out several times to be the most important issue facing the current adminstration. Let me repeat…debt REDUCTION.
In addition, privatization guarantees that the retirement system will be fully funded. As he pointed out, any retirement system needs to be fully funded. With congress borrowing heavily against the current SS system and the general reduction of incoming funds starting in 2008, we as a country face a significant decrease in the availability of funding for retirement. By shifting towards a privatized account system, it virtually guarantees funding of the retirement system. This is predomintantly due to the generally assumed fact that people tend to put money away adequately for the future.
There will undoubtedly be more on this from me as the issue heats up…;)
Alan Greenspan is brilliant. Absolutely off the wall brilliant. He is a credit to the economy and democracy that we all know and enjoy. Listening to him discuss Social Security on my way to work this morning on NPR was incredible. This man can take the most complex, sometimes overly complex, questions about the state of our nation and economy and turn them into intelligently articulated answers. Answers which defend the most simple economic building blocks of this society. Predominantly, he speaks like he is quoting Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations, defending economics itself. Listening to this as an Econ major, is almost a treat (Did I really just say that?).
At one point, a senator questioned him about his opinion on the export of jobs and resources overseas to places like China and India. How will this effect us in the long term? What competitive advantage do we have? Greenspan was articulate and concise in pointing out that the wealth of our nation lies in our intellect and the laws that protect us. He then continued to remind the congressmen that without concentrating resources on the development of our education system we are putting ourselves at a serious risk in the increasingly competitive global economy. Our ideas, our people, the constitution that protects our civil liberties. This is what makes this nation great. Without Education, we would not have what we have. I think he is wise (as always) to point out that Congress needs to spend time reconsidering the investment in education in America.
I’ll finish by saying, I believe in education. I believe in innovation and evolution in education. That’s part of the reason I my work involves education.
Social Security. Medicare. These are all important issues. But, will we spend time…and money…to ensure the future ideas that are ingredients of the American dream?
Tom Peters hit a chord with me today. With his post on leaving the east for California. I left Montana in 1999 for school at the University of Colorado. I was scared. Really scared. I grew up in Montana, a place where material wealth doesn’t matter. A place where it’s about life, not wages, not consuming. It’s about the outdoors, friends, and family. Colorado began an evolution but California is where it hit overdrive.
Tom’s post rings true. There’s something inherently awesome about making that decision to free yourself by moving to Kal-i-for-nya (Thanks for the new pronunciation Arnold). I made that decision last year. To Californicate. One of my best girl friends and I took a random job, with a random company. Moved to the South San Francisco Bay. Spent the summer under palm trees, hanging in Santa Cruz on the Boardwalk, learning to surf, wakeboarding in the Sacramento river delta, and enjoying the perfect South Bay summer nights. We didn’t know if it would all work out, but California took us in with open arms.
California frees your mind. Although I’ll always consider Montana my heart and soul. California becomes a part of you. Whether it’s the constant smell of flowers, the golden brown hills contrasting with black oak, or the quintessentially cliche palm trees. California makes you smile inside. This is where we re-imagined ourselves.
So. Yes, my blog has been lacking. Ridiculously. There’s a gamut of excuses that I could lay out. Work, travel, travel for work, the hotel that has become my apartment over the last few weeks. But, in all reality I’ve been working on an all new version of this very site. Most of the work has gone in to the part that you, the reader, never sees. Code, data structures, HTML, and the all wonderful cascading style sheets (I mean, what isn’t wonderful about style sheets that cascade). So, once I decide on a new blog package, am happy with the new design. You’ll see an updated face on davemorin.com/blog. I’m happy about it. It is definately coming soon. And, I hope you will be too.