Friday, March 31, 2006

A boost for University Circle

A boost for University Circle, and a huge sucking sound for all the rest of us. When the 150 million dollars hit University Circle (golly, I just marvel at how these bankers couch "taking risk"), it will put that much more pressure on for putting freeways through our Cleveland neighborhoods, so that scores more suburbanites can breeze blithely over to the new jobs in the Circle and never really touch down in Cleveland proper, never be breathed on by a Cleveland resident, never stop in a Cleveland business. Heck, they'll never have to lock the car doors, until they park.

I wonder: How much of this money will work its way up into East Cleveland? Over to Glenville? Let's start keeping track. Let's help redefine "risk."

And, by the way, we don't need any more "affordable housing." We already have it, tons of it, and we just need to fix it up--"waste not, want not" should be our motto, just like in the old days. We also don't need any more "market-rate" housing, the new buzz-word for the type of residential unit which, when built, leaves two or three (figures, anyone?) existing houses vacant, and does so on a tax-abated basis.

I heard yesterday that Cleveland will collect $800,000 less in property taxes this year than last, and the city income taxes are flat--none of the anticipated gain is showing up.

It's time to end the con.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

SEC Targets Scams Aimed At Seniors - 3/27/2006 -

SEC Targets Scams Aimed At Seniors - 3/27/2006 - "with a special emphasis on investment seminars that entice attendees with the promise of a free meal."

So where are we going to eat? » Blog Archive » Competitive Advantage of Cities » Blog Archive » Competitive Advantage of Cities--Good commentary on why we shouldn't be the city that thinks it's so ugly it has to tie a porkchop around it's neck to get the dogs to play with it.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

The Sausage Shoppe on Memphis

Crain's Cleveland Business--Story about another of our local businesses (Ward 15 & Ward 16 vicinity) trying to survive in the face of incredible government arrogance and ineptitude. I think they're trying to run us all out of here so they can turn the zoo and environs into another Disneyland/Casino project for tourists. They just moved the welfare office from down by the West Side Market to the Charter One building just down the street from The Sausage Shoppe--this will be the casinos' cheap labor source, compliments of the county commissioners. I swear, they're trying to break this neighborhood!

Blue Ocean Strategy

From a review by Fred Barstein:

In a recently published book, Blue Ocean Strategy (, authors W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne discuss how they think most companies’ business strategies are missing the mark. After studying 150 strategic
moves made from 1880-2000 in more than 30 industries, they suggest that, rather than finding ways to beat the competition using current rules (a “red ocean” or
“bloody strategy”), that companies instead look for blue oceans where there is
no competition. As the authors state more eloquently, “The only way to
beat the competition is to stop trying to beat the competition…In blue oceans,
competition is irrelevant because the rules of the game are waiting to be
set…corporate strategy is heavily influenced by its roots in military
strategy…confronting an opponent and fighting over a piece of land that is both
limited and constant.”

The basic tenet of blue ocean strategy is to make the competition irrelevant by creating a leap in value for buyers and your company which must include innovation. Without innovation, the result is just incremental sales. Innovation without value is too futuristic and not of interest to the mainstream or early majority. “Value innovation occurs only when companies align innovation with utility, price and cost…pursue differentiation and low cost simultaneously.” The basic tenets are:

1. Eliminate high cost services that are not highly valued
2. Reduce others
3. Raise or focus on some
4. Create new ones

The best way to understand the concept is to review a couple of examples. Cirque du Soleil is arguably a circus but, rather than compete with Barnum and Bailey, they decided to compete in a blue ocean. They eliminated high cost features
like star performers, animal shows and multiple arenas while reducing thrill and
danger. Instead they focused on unique venues and created theme based
shows, artistic music and dance, multiple productions and a refined
environment. Performers were recruited from the ranks of world class
gymnasts that had no future after competition. Cirque saw themselves
competing against Broadway shows or other high class entertainment, not
circuses. Southwest Airlines eliminated food, lounges, seating class and
hubs while focusing on cost, speed, friendly service and frequent point to point
departures. They saw themselves competing against driving, not traditional

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Buckeye State Blog--Russell does casinos

Buckeye State Blog -- Community Blogging Ohio Politics--The casino issue gets some play--my comment is way down, about like at #17: (title: it's the economics)

We need to interject some studies into this discussion, studies of effects
of casinos on areas where they're already operational. I don't have any at hand.
They do exist, and perhaps somebody can provide a link or two.

One finding is that casinos bring little or no new money to an area--they suck up existing
discretionary income, and that includes what people normally spend in local
restaurants and bars. Contrary to the pitches of the casino-mongers, the
Ratner-types of this world, existing local businesses do not prosper when
casinos come to town. In this regard, casinos have an economic impact much the
same as Wal-Mart.

Another finding is that casinos put a strain on social-service spending and cost us all way more of a tax burden there. I'm thinking of the effect of the Tunica, Mississippi casino complex and it's effect on the social services of Memphis, Tennessee. People work in Tunica, either in the casino economy or the underground economy, get few or no employee benefits, and return to their homes in Memphis, where they become recipients of social
services, compliments of the taxpayer.

Casinos also cost the local economy in the costs of development, the incentives they exact from the local politicians.

Casinos are economic parasites. They take indirectly from those who don't gamble as well as directly from those who gamble. We need to examine the numbers in all future discussions. There is a dearth of numbers in this dialogue.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Here's an Idea: Let Everyone Have Ideas - New York Times

Here's an Idea: Let Everyone Have Ideas - New York Times--Solvers & Seekers--interesting concepts, integrated from various disciplines.

Retiring in the country? You might think you will - MarketWatch

Retiring in the country? You might think you will - MarketWatch: "In fact, even among those who do make a move, most usually choose to live in a major metropolitan center, loath to give up the cultural attractions and other conveniences that are hard to find in more placid settings.
'We have our image of people retiring and they move,' said Elinor Ginzler, director for livable communities at AARP.
'That's the national myth. The reality is ... most people don't move,' she said. 'Community is incredibly important to our older citizens. They feel connected to their community.'
A quieter part of a major metropolitan area anchored by a large city, often in a warmer climate, is a popular relocating-retiree choice.
'Generally, people are moving from metropolitan counties where there are dense populations to other metropolitan counties that are less dense,' said Ron Manheimer, director of the University of North Carolina's Center for Creative Retirement in Asheville, N.C"

The latest in mobile technology - HP Small & Medium Business

The latest in mobile technology - HP Small & Medium Business--How will this affect the growth of businesses like Meet The Bloggers? How much "content" can we carry around with us? How much "content" can we produce. When might this lead to "discontent"? On which syllable does the accent go?

Windows Is So Slow, but Why? - New York Times

Windows Is So Slow, but Why? - New York Times--And I still can't load the IE7 Beta, and I'm still smarting from the anti-competitive elimination of OS/2.

A Poverty of the Mind - New York Times

A Poverty of the Mind - New York Times--"Not only was living this subculture immensely fulfilling, the boys said, it also brought them a great deal of respect from white youths. This also explains the otherwise puzzling finding by social psychologists that young black men and women tend to have the highest levels of self-esteem of all ethnic groups, and that their self-image is independent of how badly they were doing in school.I call this the Dionysian trap for young black men. The important thing to note about the subculture that ensnares them is that it is not disconnected from the mainstream culture. To the contrary, it has powerful support from some of America's largest corporations. Hip-hop, professional basketball and homeboy fashions are as American as cherry pie. Young white Americans are very much into these things, but selectively; they know when it is time to turn off Fifty Cent and get out the SAT prep book."

Plight Deepens for Black Men, Studies Warn (March 20, 2006)

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Our Friends, The Community Builders

The Community Builders--If you have time, dig through this site, noting especially what they're doing in Akron, Cincinnati, and Pittsburgh, in the press releases and the *.PDF files ("Builder" newsletter). Isn't it about time we got something like this going in our locales as well?

We've known this guy Pat Clancy since the 1960s and watched his evolution, and things just seem to keep getting better. Why don't we have this same quality of development in the Cleveland area?

NCPA | Brief Analysis #544, Health Savings Accounts: Answering the Critics, Part I

NCPA Brief Analysis #544, Health Savings Accounts: Answering the Critics, Part I--by Dr. John C. Goodman. See also parts II and III. Intelligent discussions, debunking the critics, quieting the noise surrounding the issue.

Lest We Forget....

Summit County's godfather of GOP: "In the governor's race, Arshinkoff backs Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, a strong opponent of same-sex marriage, who once told the Columbus Dispatch: 'Farmers know if you want eggs to eat you don't produce them with two roosters or two hens. You need a rooster and a hen.' "

I wanted to dredge up this quote-from-the-past to see how it plays, especially downstate.

Google Finance: A Portal Play? - New York Times

Google Finance: A Portal Play? - New York Times: "On his Internet Outsider blog (, the former stock analyst Henry M. Blodget does a curious about-face. First he dismisses Google Finance as an also-ran and warns that it will be hard for Google to gain market share from Yahoo.
Then, as he reveals in the same post, titled 'Google Finance: Yawn (Updated: Wow),' he tried it again, and decided that Yahoo had better act quickly to improve Yahoo Finance or else its 'richest, most valuable finance user base' (investment professionals) will 'vaporize.'"

Friday, March 24, 2006

Brer Rabbit and the Tar Baby

Brer Rabbit and the Tar Baby--This morning, I wanted to refresh my memory on this story, since I've been talking a lot lately about the briar patch.

» IE7 beta 2 immune to IE6 bugs but has own issues | George Ou |

» IE7 beta 2 immune to IE6 bugs but has own issues George Ou "But IE7 is not in the clear and has had its own flaw discovered by Tom Ferris which is fixed in the current beta of IE7. According to Ferris, the 'workaround' for the flaw that he discovered was to 'use Mozilla Firefox'. It should be noted that the flaw was for an earlier beta version of IE7 and beta software is beta for a reason"

Another Ferris to the rescue, with the apt comment. Must be genetic.

Kansas City Star | 03/14/2006 | The bottom line on blogging

Kansas City Star 03/14/2006 The bottom line on blogging--brain farts becoming more valuable?

A Show of Hands on Wal-Mart - New York Times

A Show of Hands on Wal-Mart - New York Times--Wal-Mart once again auditions for the role of "everybody's everything." Years ago, Santana got downright mystical about it--help me interpret--

Seems like everybody's waitin' For the new change.... You can understand everything to share. Let your spirits dance brothers everywhere. Let your head be free, Turn the wisdom key, Find it naturally. See you're lucky to be....Time for you to all get down, Yeah do it Get ready....Dig this sound Spinnin' round and round and round. Do it. You can understand
everything's to share. Let your spirits dance brother everywhere, Let your head be
free, Turn the wisdom key, Find it naturally, see your lucky to be, Sing it now. Time
for you to all get down. Yeah do it. Get ready, get ready, get ready, get ready
Get ready, get ready, get ready, get ready Singing it now Time for you to all
get down.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

KSU plans to move architecture program from Kent to Cleveland

KSU plans to move architecture program from Kent to Cleveland--All right! Gloria and I just met Steven Fong this past week at a RealNEO session, and we have a feeling everything's going to be just the bee's knees, in the City of Trees, once again. Even though Gloria persisted for a while in calling him "David," he was very gracious and kept on point, on task. We stand at the brink, just before the dawn of the new golden age. IRS Site Pays Users With Satisfaction IRS Site Pays Users With Satisfaction--Now that really makes me feel a lot better....some Mick Jagger lyrics keep running through my brain...

More Laptop Than Cellphone, but It Still Fits in Your Pocket - New York Times

More Laptop Than Cellphone, but It Still Fits in Your Pocket - New York Times--It's all converging.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

National City Bank to reward customers

National City Bank to reward customers: This was a PLAIN DEALER front-page item last Friday:

"...National City last year went on a mission, saying it planned to boost profits by hundreds of millions of dollars a year by increasing revenue and cutting expenses. Profits last year dropped by 29 percent after the bank enjoyed blockbuster years during the refinance boom.
With its points program, National City wants mostly to expand the business it does with existing customers. But the points program is also aimed at attracting new customers, both consumers and small businesses.
National City, one of the 10 largest banks nationwide, declined to say how much the rewards program will cost but said it's expected to be profitable in the second year....

"...It used to be open a new account and get a toaster," said Woker, of Morningstar Inc. But rewards like Bose stereos, mountain bikes and restaurant gift cards - all of which National City is offering - are a big step up, he said.
The venture demonstrates the value in getting low-cost or no-cost deposits that the bank can lend to others, he said, and shows how much banks love having customers with multiple accounts. "They'll be locked into your bank potentially for decades," Woker said....

COSE offers gas at discount rate

COSE offers gas at discount rate: "Bessie Vrettos said, 'We applaud COSE's efforts to serve their members and give them relief. But this is a boutique deal for a special, small universe of customers.' "
All right, who ultimately pays for this cozy little discount? How does it work? Where is the cost shifted? Enquiring minds need to know.

Cash Squeeze Means Pension Freeze - -

Cash Squeeze Means Pension Freeze - -

"According to Towers Perrin, 48 percent of the companies surveyed are likely to freeze their plans if they produce a hit to earnings; 43 percent are likely do so in response to a rise in cost of capital or a lower credit rating; and 33 percent will probably take action in the face of a dropping share price. Thirty-two percent of the companies surveyed had already closed their plans to new entrants. (Towers Perrin didn't specify whether a "freeze" refers to halting current employees from receiving new credit for future benefits, refusing pension benefits to new employees, or both.)

"In general, the trigger for freezing plans appears to be a drain on cash flow so severe that other cherished corporate programs are threatened with cuts. Things have gotten serious when "the pension plan becomes a competing interest for cash within the organization," says Cecil Hemingway, who heads the pension-legacy solutions department at the actuarial and risk-management-consulting firm. In particular, pension plans would not be allowed to continue if they began to drain funds away from share buyback programs or investments in plant and equipment, he adds.

"And if Congress passes a law mandating that plan sponsors fund 100 percent of pension obligations, as it's likely to do, then many companies could be freezing their plans soon. Both Senate and House versions of the legislation reportedly demand full funding, a measure that President Bush is likely to support. Under current law, pension sponsors must fund 90 percent of their plans' obligations."

Mayor Eric J. Brewer's State of the City Address | City of East Cleveland

Mayor Eric J. Brewer's State of the City Address City of East Cleveland--Hold onto your hats, folks! This guy's going places.

Was there any mention of any of this in The Cleveland PLAIN DEALER? I couldn't find anything myself.

Summit County's godfather of GOP

Summit County's godfather of GOP: "'Nothing happens unless money changes hands with Alex,' Zaidan said. 'You want to be judge? Fine. This is what it'll cost you.'
Zaidan, 74, who once described Arshinkoff, 51, in print as a 'quick-witted sumo wrestler with inexhaustible energy,' remembers Arshinkoff just beginning in politics, in the early 1970s.
Arshinkoff was a college student who had a job cleaning toilets at the courthouse when he walked into the Beacon Journal newsroom and met Zaidan.... "

Here's a little background material for tomorrow's MeetTheBloggers interview with Jim Petro, another wrestler. Thanks to the Columbus Dispatch this past Sunday, though, I also know that Petro has another skill set--he sews:

Petro, a heavyweight wrestler in high school and college, also sews and tailors clothes for himself and his wife. In fact, Mrs. Petro said her parents gave him a sewing machine for graduating from law school.
"He was always borrowing my mother’s," she said.
Petro said he learned to sew as a child when he went to his mother to sew on a button and she showed him how to do it himself instead.

In a Shift, New York Says It Will Add 800 Officers - New York Times

In a Shift, New York Says It Will Add 800 Officers - New York Times: "making the safest big city in America even safer requires additional resources." New York understands that safety is a priority in a liveable city.

Cleveland added an office of consumer affairs to do the work attorneys and nonprofits already do and still plans to do away with Ladder 42 in Old Brooklyn, one of its last semi-stable middle-class neighborhoods. Go figure, as they say in New York.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

MTB scooping the PD

Buckeye State Blog -- Community Blogging Ohio Politics--MTB's beginning to make a difference. Is it possible to straighten out Brent Larkin?

brain farts?

I got this short treatise from an old friend yesterday on the topic of brain farts, that evanescent, highly personalized commodity fueling all blogs, journals, newspaper columns, and The Next Great American Novel. I guess it's just that some are stronger and more persistent than others.

I'll be honest - the thing I don't get about blogs is, basically, who gives a shit what most people think? It's so...solipsistic...just because you own a computer, do I have to be privy to every brain fart you have? I'm sounding like a real luddite here of course - but I personally think blogs are a fad, and there's so much noise, with volume (sorry, crappy pun) increasing hourly...Maybe I should start a blog about all the antibloggers could blog about blogs. And Wiki's. And the next cutesy bullshit thing that's coming our way, courtesy of the internet. Oh..maybe one day we'll have to get a permit, like you do to drive or get married. Control the masses somehow.

Monday, March 20, 2006

A Guest Blogger, and an Unwritten Law - New York Times

A Guest Blogger, and an Unwritten Law - New York Times: "And more important, the blog was not written by him"

Bill Beutel, 75, Dies; Longtime Anchor of 'Eyewitness News' in New York - New York Times

Bill Beutel, 75, Dies; Longtime Anchor of 'Eyewitness News' in New York - New York Times: "William Charles Beutel was born Dec. 12, 1930. The son of a dentist in Cleveland, he said he was inspired to be a reporter while listening to Edward R. Murrow's broadcasts from London during the Battle of Britain.
After graduating from Dartmouth, Mr. Beutel went to the University of Michigan Law School but left after a year to pursue journalism. He got a radio job in Cleveland and then came to CBS radio in New York."

'American Theocracy,' by Kevin Phillips - The New York Times Book Review - New York Times

'American Theocracy,' by Kevin Phillips - The New York Times Book Review - New York Times: "What makes this book powerful in spite of the familiarity of many of its arguments is his rare gift for looking broadly and structurally at social and political change. By describing a series of major transformations, by demonstrating the relationships among them and by discussing them with passionate restraint, Phillips has created a harrowing picture of national danger that no American reader will welcome, but that none should ignore. "

Again, another harbinger of a correction--as the pendulum swings back.

Are We Having a Conversation Yet? An Art Form Evolves - New York Times

Are We Having a Conversation Yet? An Art Form Evolves - New York Times: "O.K. But listen to 'talk' radio, with its combative recruitment of allies; or 'talk' shows in which guests are promoting themselves or their products and hosts are prepared with leading questions; or 'talk' news shows in which conversation becomes a form of shouting. Look at our isolating iPods, at text messaging with its prepackaged formulas, or instant messaging with its iconic smilies, so necessary to make sure the telegraphic prose is not misunderstood.

This state of affairs helped inspire Stephen Miller's new book, 'Conversation: A History of a Declining Art' (Yale, $27.50). Mr. Miller, who is a contributing editor to The Wilson Quarterly, finds countertrends, as well — Internet communities that lead to new forms of conversation, diverse gatherings in which disagreements become an expected aspect of conversation. But, he writes, the 'forces sapping conversation seem stronger than the forces nourishing it.' So Mr. Miller, in response, is recounting another kind of conversation that has taken place over the centuries, one whose subject is conversation itself."

All right! It looks like BFD and MTB are off to a good start as "countertrends," those necessary adjustments civilization makes to bring itself back into balance.

In the business of building or re-building community, isn't open dialogue the foundation?

Microsoft Takes on Craigslist in the Battle for Classified Ads - New York Times

Microsoft Takes on Craigslist in the Battle for Classified Ads - New York Times: "But Microsoft is taking a more comprehensive approach than others, using its instant messaging, mapping and blogging services to help people sell items among groups of local friends and acquaintances."

Isn't this the same way the pyramid-selling structures work--Amway, Mary Kay, Tupperware, Primerica/A. L. Williams?

On Anniversary, Bush and Cheney See Iraq Success - New York Times

On Anniversary, Bush and Cheney See Iraq Success - New York Times--From the headline in the NYT, we see we're at another inflection point, an anniversary, a time for reflection and evaluation. Why do you suppose President Bush will be appearing in Cleveland today, speaking at The City Club? Rove used us here in Ohio during the election, splitting the state against itself on the gay issue--are they trying to use us again?

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Save Our Land: Save Our Land: A Neighborhood Collaboration

Save Our Land: Save Our Land: A Neighborhood Collaboration--Something new in the neighborhood, born of necessity.

From cousin Dan

I got this in the mail this morning from my cousin Dan out in Washington. It hit me just right, and I'm sharing it:

The Plan!

Robin Williams, wearing a shirt that says "I love New York" in Arabic.

You gotta love Robin Williams......Even if he's nuts! Leave it to Robin Williams to come up with the perfect plan. What we need now is for our UN Ambassador to stand up and repeat this message.

Robin Williams' plan...(Hard to argue with this logic!)

I see a lot of people yelling for peace, but I have not heard of a plan for peace. So, here's one plan.

1) The US will apologize to the world for our "interference" in their affairs, past present. You know, Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, Tojo, Noriega, Milosevic, Hussein, and the rest of those "good ole boys", we will never "interfere" again.

2) We will withdraw our troops from all over the world, starting with Germany, South Korea, the Middle East, and the Philippines.
They don't want us there. We would station troops at our borders. No one allowed sneaking through holes in the fence.

3) All illegal aliens have 90 days to get their affairs together and leave. We'll give them a free trip home. After 90 days the remainder will be gathered up and deported immediately, regardless of whom or where they are. They're illegal!!! France will welcome them.

4) All future visitors will be thoroughly checked and limited to 90 days unless given a special permit!!!! No one from a terrorist nation will be allowed in. If you don't like it there, change it yourself and don't hide here. Asylum would never be available to anyone. We don't need any more cab drivers or 7-11 cashiers.

5) No foreign "students" over age 21. The older ones are the bombers. If they don't attend classes, they get a "D" and it's back home baby.

6) The US will make a strong effort to become self-sufficient energy wise. This will include developing nonpolluting sources of energy but will require a temporary drilling of oil in the Alaskan wilderness. The caribou will have to cope for a while.

7) Offer Saudi Arabia and other oil producing countries $10 a barrel for their oil. If they don't like it, we go someplace else. They can go somewhere else to sell their production. (About a week of the wells filling up the storage sites would be enough.)

8) If there is a famine or other natural catastrophe in the world, we will not "interfere." They can pray to Allah or whomever, for seeds, rain, cement or whatever they need. Besides most of what we give them is stolen or given to the army. The people who need it most get very little, if anything.

9) Ship the UN Headquarters to an isolated island someplace. We don't need the spies and fair weather friends here. Besides, the building would make a good homeless shelter or lockup for illegal aliens.

10) All Americans must go to charm and beauty school. That way, no one can call us "Ugly Americans" any longer. The Language we speak is ENGLISH...learn it...or LEAVE...Now, isn't that a winner of a plan?

The Statue of Liberty is no longer saying "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses." She's got a baseball bat and she's yelling, "You want a piece of me?"

Robin Williams, George Carlin, what's the difference? It sounds good this morning.

Saturday, March 18, 2006 - Cha-ching! Ms. Cafaro running again - Cha-ching! Ms. Cafaro running again--In case you missed it, this ran just this past January 29th, and I've resurrected it in preparation for the April Fools' Day session of Meet the Bloggers at Talkies.

BuzzMachine: Get me rewrite

BuzzMachine: Get me rewrite--"And the Times, they are a-changin'"--and right quickly, too. Time for a new political-promise mantra: "A chicken in every pot, a car in every garage, and a laptop on every...lap?"

John Kasich: Biography and Much More From

John Kasich: Biography and Much More From I wasn't aware of what John Kasich has been doing lately, until I googled him based on the previous NYT article ("John Kasich, a former Republican chairman of the House Budget Committee and devotee of balanced budgets who is now an investment adviser and author, said much of Washington had surrendered to the political impulse to please various voter groups with unbridled spending."). Follow the previous link here--it's interesting. Here's some more from something SEC-related:

JOHN KASICH. Mr. Kasich has been a Managing Director in the InvestmentBanking Group at Lehman Brothers since January 2001, where he has responsibilities across a range of industry groups, including health care, powerand utilities, technology, retail and financial institutions. Prior to joining Lehman Brothers, Mr. Kasich was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, representing Ohio's 12th Congressional District, from 1983 to 2000, and served as Chairman of the House Budget Committee from 1995-2000. Prior to serving in the U.S. Congress, Mr. Kasich was an Ohio State Senator for four years.

Politics Drives a Senate Spending Spree - New York Times

Politics Drives a Senate Spending Spree - New York Times--Let's see how much of this we see in the local papers--there are some great talking points here. Has anybody heard about Bill Pierce, the one down in Cincinnati running against Mike DeWine?

Friday, March 17, 2006

Matt Furey Uncensored: How an Irishman Thinks

Matt Furey Uncensored: How an Irishman Thinks--I think of a true Irishman as someone who is an expert at telling a story, either in writing or orally. An Irishman who cannot tell a story will go broke. A true Irishman is a fighter, or a politician, a priest, a policeman, or an actor/comedian, or some sort of performer.An Irishman will be opinionated beyond belief. He will have a comment about almost everything - as well as a theory, principle or LAW. And an Irishman, most of all, will have a sense of humor, even during times of extreme adversity.

Washington Post bloggers paid extra, sometimes - MarketWatch

Washington Post bloggers paid extra, sometimes - MarketWatch

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Lenovo ThinkPad T60 (Think Express Model) > Laptops > CNET > Technology > New York Times

Lenovo ThinkPad T60 (Think Express Model) > Laptops > CNET > Technology > New York Times--Finally, I think I want to ride on the bus with one of these.

Huge breaking story: Jury holds 3 ex-makers of lead paint liable | REALNEO for all

Huge breaking story: Jury holds 3 ex-makers of lead paint liable REALNEO for all--This is nearly a month old, but I just found out about it today.

The Newest Member of the iPod Family - New York Times

The Newest Member of the iPod Family - New York Times--Finally, an iPod adults can cotton to. Sounds like it's some fairly intelligent design, too.

Finding New Connections When Wi-Fi Is Not Enough - New York Times

Finding New Connections When Wi-Fi Is Not Enough - New York Times--While you're riding the bus or the rapid transit with your laptop, here's how to find a signal. Fairly erudite yet conversational article, to render you effective at cocktail parties.

Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority Info-web

Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority Info-web--This is a great way to access the schedules for our regional public-transit system. My friend Jay, a stockbroker up in Boston, tells me about all his wealthy "treehugger" friends in Cambridge divesting themselves of their cars and taking to the MTA and Shanks mare. Gloria and I are trying with increasing frequency to do the same here. This RTA Trip Planner takes away the angst of climbing on the bus, for me at least. In a bus, as in a car, I remain a man, unable to ask anybody for directions. My little secret is that I have my RTA Itinerary Detail to keep me from having to stoically ride the wrong buses forever.

If you support the ideas of sustainability and conservation, or just plain saving money, you need to give this RTA system a try. If you can, take a laptop. Increased usage of public transit and decreased air pollution may be good arguments for wi-fi around here for all, not just for the nonprofits and the government. Intel, are you listening?

South Koreans Clearly See Mobile TV - New York Times

South Koreans Clearly See Mobile TV - New York Times--When I was in Korea in the early 1970s, they specialized in the knock-off of everybody else's inventions and ideas. Today, they are stepping up to become the innovators.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Don't make eye contact with EDPs

Don't make eye contact with EDPs: "When on EMS calls, always avoid making direct eye contact with EDPs (emotionally disturbed persons). Eye contact can be seen as confrontational or intimidating and can heighten the EDP's anxiety level, creating the potential for a dangerous situation." See my comment on BFD for Gloria.

Lawyer Thrust Into Spotlight After Misstep in Terror Case - New York Times

Lawyer Thrust Into Spotlight After Misstep in Terror Case - New York Times: "significant instances of misbehavior by government lawyers during the trial"--we need to be mindful of this "public servant" mindset. Enough said.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

B-to-B Connect

B-to-B Connect, or Business-To-Business Connect, Brooklyn Circle chapter, meets at Theo's Old Brooklyn Grille, in the old bank building across from Deaconess Hospital, just up from the Pearl and Broadview intersection, every first and third Friday of the month. As the web pages state:

Our Mission:
To dramatically condense your sales cycle and eliminate the high cost of cold-market business development by providing high quality personal referrals to business owners and sales professionals calling on other companies.

We are still building the group, which will max out at 20 members. Drop by some first or third Friday at 0700 if this is something you think might be useful, or leave me a comment here.

Road to Rebirth Diverges on a Mississippi Bridge - New York Times

Road to Rebirth Diverges on a Mississippi Bridge - New York Times--There's a really tacky dialogue going on here, over rebuilding a bridge. The tensions are familiar to those of us who have dealt with the depradations of the city of Cleveland and the Cuyahoga county engineer in the matter of the Fulton Road Bridge, over Brookside Park. This past Friday, the county brought suit against the "Save Our Land" property owners, I hear.

Colleges Open Minority Aid to All Comers - New York Times

Colleges Open Minority Aid to All Comers - New York Times--Interesting development. And the pendulum swings....

The World's Billionaires -

The World's Billionaires - list is out. Browse through to see the distribution. The Cleveland area has three, all from the same family. (

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Cleveland School Board search ends in failure Newslogs--I see the Cleveland School Board has continued to make the same mistakes it has in the past by keying in on the out-of-town candidates with educator-type resumes, which if you recall is just what we got with BBB. In rejecting the only candidate, Bill Denihan, who could have dismantled and reorganized the corrupt, inefficient Cleveland School District, this Cleveland School Board (how did they get onto the school board--I didn't vote for them, did I?) has guaranteed continuation of the status quo. The boat won't get rocked, the new hire will figure out in 4 years what Denihan knows now, and quit in frustration, the cozy relationships and inefficiencies will continue unchanged. When are we going to start saying that this isn't much about kids at all--it's about jobs and contracts, graft and greed, politics and preference.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Gloria Ferris » Blog Archive » Chili Cookoff at The UGLY

We have just finished cooking three pots of chili--10# of meat alone--and it is fine. Try to drop by after 4:30 PM, after the Archwood-Denison community assembly. Gloria Ferris » Blog Archive » Chili Cookoff at The UGLY

Friday, March 10, 2006

Matt Furey Uncensored: Do Blame the Dairy Man

I'll corroborate this--we were a healthier nation when we didn't have cheese on everything. Matt Furey Uncensored: Do Blame the Dairy Man

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Tech Futures: From an Ugly Duckling to a Beautiful SWAN

We talked with Chris Varley late this afternoon at Talkies, and it took me back to his blog, at which I found he had recently made some interesting distinctions, in his SWAN story. It's a story we all need to learn, if for no other reason than to be conversant with the names of the technologies, in order to take the dialogue to another level, a level at which private enterprises are involved as well. Tech Futures: From an Ugly Duckling to a Beautiful SWAN

Plunderbund » Law Dork Lobs MTB Grenade

Good play-by-play here, verging on the hilarious, making the final point that the bloggo-medium is self-policing. Plunderbund » Law Dork Lobs MTB Grenade. Enjoy.

American Pink Collar: An Abortion Story

Compelling story on Daniella's blog yesterday. American Pink Collar: An Abortion Story

Meet the Bloggers: Bill Pierce piece posted

This interview with Pierce is exceptional. He's articulate and has it all pretty much figured out. Now, how does a great guy like this get elected?

Plunderbund » Capri, er, um…Janay Getting Skewered

Stay tuned for the sequel: Charo Goes To Washington. About the only good news is, this new new name rhymes with Cafaro. Plunderbund » Capri, er, um…Janay Getting Skewered

word of mouth: Why Meet the Bloggers is so Damn Important

Great post by our friend Scott Bakalar at word of mouth. As I pointed out, he seems to be finding his voice lately, and it's great to be around to watch it all unfold. - News - Councilman Working To Change 'Ugly' Traffic Cameras

Good to see aesthetics entering the dialogues around here. - News - Councilman Working To Change 'Ugly' Traffic Cameras

While we're talking about it, let's revisit the issue of those ubiquitous advertising kiosks we've had defiling the streetscape since late in the White administration. With them, we can talk about aesthetics, content, and revenue. Once the city entered the advertising business, how did they do, and if there was revenue, how much was it, and where did it go? Have we as a public experienced any benefit at all? How do we know? Do we take this as a matter of blind faith in The Partnership? How do these add to the visual clutter we already have of Muny Light and CEI/First Energy poles, above-ground cable, and phone wires? Has anyone else found the content sort of dumb, or offensive, or offensive because it's so dumb? Am I the only one that finds these kiosks an unwelcome intrusion, or an impediment to progress?

Should we also be talking about adopting utility trenches? I don't think an area seeking to curry favor with new, high-tech businesses can have its wires so obviously all-above-ground. What are the 9-11 type concerns? What are the interruption-of-service issues, when the wind blows or the ice forms all over? And, finally, what are the aesthetics?

Home Break-In Statistics Have Cleveland Residents Worried - News -

News item is specific to the 2nd District. This is the result of the denial of service we have experienced over these past few months--The thieves knew about it before we did. Pagonakis didn't account for what we experienced over here as well, the uptick in car thefts. Read the whole thing---> Home Break-In Statistics Have Cleveland Residents Worried - News -

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Law Dork: Meet the Bloggers Goes Backroom

A dubious distinction--Law Dork: Meet the Bloggers Goes Backroom--I guess it falls into the category of, "I don't care what you say about me, just make sure you spell my name right."

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

GEO: Green Energy Ohio

Just got back from Newburgh Heights and a talk by Fletcher Miller of GEO about wind turbines, or windmills, and their future in this region. Interesting points:
  • Ohio stands to gain the second most of all the states from wind power, second only to California (chart: More Wind, More Jobs, from the American Wind Energy Association)
  • the cost of a kwh, I think, with wind energy is around 5 cents, and currently we up here pay in the 12-13 cent range from the electric companies, Fletcher thinks. Also, there is approximately a 1.9-cent tax credit, lowering the net cost further
  • cost recovery time on the initial investment in wind energy is about 7-8 years
  • Denmark has the most of this type of energy, followed by Germany

Saturdays, 50-hour weeks

Recently, we've had a lot of government-sponsored public hearings (ODOT, for example) during what most of us consider to be the normal work week and normal work hours, Monday through Friday, 8:00 AM through 5:00 PM. If the public are to participate, they must either take time off or shift productive work time to other slots. The result is that most people cannot afford, or are not allowed, to participate in the public processes. Is this, then, truly a public process, or a sham?

Also, we hear all the things government can't get done, or do well enough, because of all kinds of constraints. Consider the backed-up court dockets, for example. Remember your unreturned phone calls and emails. Consider, too, that the government hires outside contractors at additional cost, and still, lots goes undone.

It's time to make a career of "government service" just that--service, and to that end, I propose that we initiate immediately a minimum 50-hour work week for all government employees, at every level, for the same pay--either five days at 10 hours a day or 6 days at 8 hours a day, with credit for an additional 2 hours when Saturday work is required, as for public meetings and hearings. And, all of these public hearings should be held outside normal work hours.

If we haven't made government work harder, at least have it work longer, until if gets things right. When we need greater efficiencies, we need to look first to our existing assets--our salaried government workers.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Matt Furey Uncensored: Should You Listen to Rock When You Train?

Found this surfing around. I've been trying to tell my kids this for years, couching it in terms of, "I've already made this mistake, let me shorten your learning curve. Avoid the mistakes I've already made, break new ground. This is the only way we as a civilization progress."

The kids don't pay me much heed for, after all, I am merely their dear, doofy dad. But now, I find that Matt and I are on the same page. The trouble is, will they listen to Matt?

Cleveland schools to choose from 3, and Bill Denihan's one.

Last night on the news at 11 we got the first encouraging sign of things starting to go right in this city--Bill Denihan was among the three finalists to head up the school board. Overnight, I tried to put aside my built-in GO BILL! bias and let the critical distinction come to me, the distinction that would inform an intelligent decision of the citizens as to how to proceed next on the huge issue of the schools.

On the way down to the market for the paper this morning, it came to me: Given that all three candidates are competent and have demonstrated abilities as turn-around administrators, the one that already loves this town is Bill; the other two still have to learn to love it.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

All I wanted was to post a comment

All I wanted was to post a comment, and now I have a blog