Sunday, April 29, 2007


Touring Warhol’s Space, and 32 Other Art-History Sites - New York Times -- Of the 33 NYC places where artsy and hip started, bloomed, and flourished, the "33 spots around the city where art history was made", I wonder how many had tax-abatement, got county dollars by harnessing smokers, or were intentionally located in preexisting, institutionally ordained art districts. What do you think? Which is the tail, which is the dog? What's wagging around here? If I recall, back in the day it used to be enough for a place just to be cheap, cool, and relatively hassle-free.

peripatetic dialogues, total mobility, affordable pricing

The Little Projectors That Pack a Punch - New York Times -- Lately, with our MTB community dialogues, I've been thinking a lot about the peripatetic method of discourse that comes to us from Aristotelian times. It's becoming increasingly important to have knowledge you can lug around with you, knowlege you can use and share. We're all fairly accustomed to laptops, PDAs, and wi-fi, the things that are for intake and for personal use, but now it's time to start thinking about small scanners, printers, and projectors, the things that are for output, sharing, and dissemination. This NYT article touches on the projectors considered novelties--I'm thinking of them as mainstream accoutrements for the way I want to do business.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Humble Pie - 30 Days in the Hole

We drove by the Fulton Road Bridge protracted demolition late this afternoon, thought of the animals that were kept in the hole during the extended blasting fiasco, and decided we'd dedicate this to them, until the smoke clears.

Friday, April 27, 2007

this weekend, another plus: freaks and geeks

LGBT Cleveland :: Clevelands's Official Tourism Site -- Travel info for your Cleveland excursion - Cleveland Ohio - Convention & Visitors Bureau - CVB -- I notice that this weekend, the CVB tells me, the Wyndham is hosting the Cleveland Leather Awareness Weekend (CLAW! -- whatta name -- plus me, hard!). Obviously, the CVB has gaydar.

A few streets over, NOTACON at the Holiday Inn Lakeside offers what we expect will be somewhat different fare. I don't think the CVB has the geekfest on their radar, for whatever reason. We already have advance tickets for NOTACON, so we won't have to be torn making difficult choices.

I wonder how much crossover there will be between the two conventions? Is this something Valdis should map?

another plus from The Cleveland Leader: Plus the Magic Dragon Saves Downtown Cleveland

The Cleveland Leader -- Eugene's blogspace doesn't allow for comments, so I'll have to give him a big "Plus you very much" over here, at my place. His idea may seem sort of off the wall, but Singapore does something like this using RFID technology: It gives money or credits to people coming into Singapore in cars during off hours but takes money or credits from people using cars in Singapore during times of high congestion. It rewards use of public transit somehow, as well.

Perhaps then our sentry at the gateways to the city can be called Plus the Magic Dragon. Plus giveth, and Plus taketh away--you get the incentive, and then the traffic cameras strip you of the incentive, plus. Perhaps Plus can even be made out of retrofitted traffic cameras, plus. The possibilities are boundless--which means "not plusless." Get with the program. Get behind it. Tell people you're from The Big Plus.

I think I'm liking this new Cleveland+ campaign--I'm far from nonplussed.

Have you stopped to think, too, that "plus" can be the local verbal tic of the new milennium, replacing other verbal tics like "y'know," "really," "you see what I'm saying," "man," "at the end of the day," and the many permutations and combinations of the f-word, as in a takeoff on my old drill sergeant's "out-plussing-standing."

Plus you!

Plus me. Plus me dead!

Don't write off the Cleveland+ campaign. There's a certain perverse magic there.

Let's have some fun with it.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Verizon patent litigation extorts Vonage for 5.5% royalty

Vonage Wins Permanent Stay in Verizon Patent Litigation --Bruce Perrens, whom we met recently in an MTB session, gave us the catchphrase, "If you can't innovate, litigate," and that's what Verizon's been doing with Vonage lately. Today, Vonage obtained a permanent stay, so it can go about it's business almost as usual, with the modification of paying a 5.5% royalty to Verizon and posting a $66 million bond. This is similar to the AT&T situation with the Ohio SB117, where an uncompetitive and hidebound older company tries to gain market share of a market in which they aren't in the least competitive, using their pawns in the state legislature to extort the companies that created the market. There's honest and forthright competition, and then there's the cheater's game played by AT&T, which might be rephrased as, "If you can't innovate, legislate," especially if you have cooperative "operatives" like Bob Spada and Lance Mason. Am I being too harsh, too unfair?

Bill Callahan's been giving this SB177 thorough and balanced coverage for the past month, and I guess Matt Zone testified today down in Columbus.

SB117 and Matt Zone, now on BFD

Brewed Fresh Daily » Cleveland City Councilman Matt Zone’s testimony to the Ohio Senate on SB117 -- Last Friday morning, I once again took time to participate in a MeetTheBloggers session about Ohio Senate Bill 117 at Gypsy Beans. From what we learned, our recently elected representation, in this case co-sponsors Bob Spada and Lance Mason, have lost no time in linking arms across the aisle and proceeding to sell out the public interest to their goombahs at AT&T. They think they're players. Listen to the whole thing. It's sickening.

We must take our government back from these careerists. Our imposition of term limits has made it so these guys early on form unholy alliances that either get them campaign funds to get on to the next government level or else line up good private-sector jobs after elected office ends. Harbor no illusions; we are compromised by those whom we just placed in office.

This bill is fast-tracked to slide by under our noses, and we'll find ourselves sold down the river, paying exhorbitant prices for a newly installed but already obsolete utility infrastructure. The television commercials, I am told, talk about choice and competition. Turn off the TV. It's lying to you. Keep it off. Your life will improve.

We can easily bypass this AT&T attempt at staying alive, staying in the game. Bring on the beefed-up broadband wireless. Disrupt the utility franchise.

And don't let AT&T put one more of those old-fashioned refrigerator-looking things on one more tree lawn. They lower property values.

And don't forget to read Matt Zone's testimony over on BFD.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

in the new-to-me category of "Strange News" NewsFlash - Armed Miss America 1944 stops intruder: Just today, on, I noticed a category named "Strange News." Here's my one I couldn't pass up, once I read the part about balancing on the walker and the snub-nosed .38. Don't miss the link at the end--it adds a lot of depth to the story, depth you don't have room for in a print edition of the news. As it turns out, this is actually an amazing lady--

"WAYNESBURG, Ky. (AP) — Miss America 1944 has a talent that likely has never appeared on a beauty pageant stage: She fired a handgun to shoot out a vehicle's tires and stop an intruder. Venus Ramey, 82, confronted a man on her farm in south-central Kentucky last week after she saw her dog run into a storage building where thieves had previously made off with old farm equipment.

Ramey said the man told her he would leave. 'I said, 'Oh, no you won't,' and I shot their tires so they couldn't leave,' Ramey said.

She had to balance on her walker as she pulled out a snub-nosed .38-caliber handgun. 'I didn't even think twice. I just went and did it,' she said. 'If they'd even dared come close to me, they'd be 6 feet under by now.'

Ramey then flagged down a passing motorist, who called 911.

Curtis Parrish of Ohio was charged with misdemeanor trespassing, Deputy Dan Gilliam said. The man's hometown wasn't immediately available. Three other people were questioned but were not arrested.

After winning the pageant with her singing, dancing and comedic talents, Ramey sold war bonds and her picture was adorned on a B-17 that made missions over Germany in World War II, according to the Miss America Web site.

Ramey lived in Cincinnati for several years and was instrumental in helping rejuvenate Over-the-Rhine historic buildings. She returned to Kentucky in 1990 to live on her farm.

'I'm trying to live a quiet, peaceful life and stay out of trouble, and all it is, is one thing after another,' she said.
On the Net: "

Friday, April 20, 2007

we just registered for NOTACON

NOTACON - presented by FTS Conventures -- Madame Gloria and I just preregistered for NOTACON, here April 27th through April 29th--the first tier pricing is sold out, but we got in on the second tier. This looks to be one of the finest opportunities to see why this region is the future, made manifest now. Stoke up on the stuff of the Third Wave, the new knowledge economy. Look at this list of speakers, the games and events, and the schedule overall. If you're intent on accelerating your business, show up.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

first That Red Guy, then The Open Source Guy

Meet the Bloggers » SourceLabs’ Bruce Perens VP and author of “The Open Source Definition” -- Gloria and I were extremely fortunate last week: We got to have dinner Thursday with open-source evangelist Bruce Perens and his local Sourcelabs business affiliate, Athena Diamantis; the dinner was a five-course Greek-wine-tasting at M Bistro in Westlake, where she and her husband have ownership, and where he is the chef; we got to hear Bruce again in a panel discussion at I-Open's second Defrag event at Lorain Community College; and we got to talk in an MTB around-the-table discussion to him yet again right after the panel presentation and before his next plane out.

This is an amazing guy; I now have a grasp of what "open source" means and why it is so important, and why Merrill Lynch and TIAA-CREF already have embraced the concept. I know that only 30% of companies' software is "paid software," and the other 70% is custom, that there is a critical distinction each business must make between its differentiating and its nondifferentiating software, that the Bayh-Dole Act needs to be reexamined to make sure all businesses' best interests can be held foremost. I picked up pearls like "a massively parallel drunkard's walk filtered by a Darwinian process," and I learned the perils of the theories of "revenue bypass" and "revenue capture." I heard a multi-leveled metaphor involving Smoky Bear and taking a match to the forest.

Bruce brings us all a most critical community dialogue, and you owe it to yourself and to all of us to listen now and often.

Tech Futures: Cleveland Now One of the Hottest Job Markets

Tech Futures: Cleveland Now One of the Hottest Job Markets --Mike DeAloia sent this positive report from out in an email Tuesday, and now Chris Varley posts it on his blog. Chris also has a link to a Money Magazine article showing anticipated residential real-estate appreciation/depreciation between now and April 2008. It is very, very interesting, and heartening.

Wild Bill O'Neill & the National Journal

Judge O'Neill Makes the National Journal Buckeye State Blog -- Here's our friend Wild Bill O'Neill getting some positive press again. We interviewed Bill for Meet.The.Bloggers on this past Bastille Day, July 14, 2006. From Jerid at the BSB--

While it's largely a paraphrase of of Sabrina Eaton's PD Article from earlier last week, it's still exciting to see Judge O'Neill getting early DC attention. From the National Journal's House Race Hotline (subscription):

Ret. Army Lt. Col./registered nurse/Appeals Court Judge/'06 OH Supreme Court nominee William O'Neill (D) has announced he'll seek Rep. Steve LaTourette's (R) seat in '08. O'Neill: "I'm running because I'm impatient with waiting for Congress to change the course America is on." O'Neill said LaTourette's 57% victory margin in '06 over "underfunded political novice" Lewis Katz (D) shows he can be defeated by a strong candidate. LaTourette "declined to comment on the challenge or whether he's planning to seek re-election" to an eighth term.

O'Neill lost an '06 OH Supreme Court bid, but won 1.3M votes despite raising no money for the campaign. For '08, O'Neill "intends to raise" $1-2M, but "he has to delay fund-raising until he leaves the bench" in 7/07. O'Neill "predicts he'll have no trouble raising cash." O'Neill: "People should be encouraged to put their money where their heart is." LaTourette, O'Neill said, is "dead wrong about the war, and on China and on health care. I will make that case, and we'll see what the voters have to say."

O'Neill, who earned a Bronze Star in the Army during Vietnam and has a son who served in Iraq, "said he plans to attack LaTourette's voting record on the Iraq war." O'Neill also said he feels well-equipped to call for universal health care, given he's a registered nurse who currently works on call in Hillcrest Hospital's pediatric ER.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Bill Gross juxtaposes Second Life with Walden Pond

The U.S. housing market’s grim reality - InvestmentNews -- Bill Gross, the former card-counter, expelled from the casinos to find that better life at PIMCO, is also an entertaining writer. In this piece about grim housing realities, he brings in the fact that he's an Apple guy, knows about meteverses, Second Life, and avatars, then contrasts the present day with the classical past, and finally compares it all to the housing, lending, and bond markets. With a mind that can take so many different perspectives and metaphors on a few different levels and meld them together into a cogent set of useful ideas, he shows us why he has few equals in the bond business.

There's an expanded article here.

Timothy Leary, '42: Flashbacks from Mount Saint James

College of the Holy Cross Holy Cross Magazine -- This Timothy Leary retrospective piece just appeared in our alumni magazine; I guess I had more of a heritage than I knew when I matriculated at HC in 1964. Had I known what a tough act I had to follow, I would have tried harder, or at least been more irrationally exuberant. Hoya!

Monday, April 16, 2007

coming soon to a neighborhood near you

Works of Love :: A Newsletter from the Institute for Research on Unlimited Love -- There's an amazing project about love, humanity, and spirituality going on at CWRU, orchestrated by Stephen Post, supported by Sir John Templeton's foundation. It's very practical, very basic, and very a propos. The link goes to the latest newsletter. At the bottom of the letter is the link to the full-blown website.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Gordon Findlay's funeral service tomorrow

Tomorrow at 0930, we're going over to a funeral home at East 65th and Quincy for services for an old friend, Gordon R. Findlay, born in Detroit December 31st, 1923, attended M.I.T. during the Second World War, class of 1944, worked on top-secret projects for the US government that kept his thesis classified and Gordon without an advanced degree. He was a friend of Gloria's since the 1970s, and he had been helping us with our computers since the early days, when the monitor displays were black with amber or green letters and a good IBM A/T cost over $10,000, with software, of course. MultiMate was all the rage. Gordon was brilliant.

The reason I'm writing about Gordon is that there's no death notice for him, nor will there be; we understand this was a decision left up to his final caregivers, whom none of us here in Cleveland know. There's a service for him at that funeral home at 65th and Quincy, but he died down in Kent and lived most of his time in Cleveland here on the West side. He is a father and has a family, but nobody knows how to contact them. We understand that at one time, in another life, he had been a prosperous businessowner, one of the early tech pioneers.

Given the way things are arranged now, it's going to be hard for anyone to note his passing.

Hence, the entry here.

in case you missed it: rock fest dies because the 501(c)(3) crowd gets no overtime

Plain Dealer Entertainment & Pop Culture: CMJ/Rock Hall Music Fest cancelled after two-year run -- You know, it was ridiculous enough to institutionalize rock and roll in the first place by establishing a nonprofit museum to be the custodian of it. By the time you can identify it, categorize it, and put it into a museum, it's about moribund and a mere curiosity anyway, the shadow of its former self. However, all the woosies who watched rock's evolution safely from the sidelines drew salaries to highjack and display other peoples' life-work product. They got "nice clean jobs." Security. Three squares a day. Healthcare benefits, retirement plans, the chance to move outside the city. All the things, in short, that rock is not about. Now they want overtime.

As we see in this PD article, the woosies can't get overtime to continue to run the music fest, so they're bailing after a scant two years. Usually, it takes three years to ramp up an event anyway, and they're running from it to avoid being committed down the road. They also won't show the numbers. Should we wonder why?

Here's the whole thing from the PD. I think I'm getting nauseous, reading at the end of the article the fact that it wasn't about rock and roll, it wasn't about the collaboration with the clubs and the kids, it wasn't about the good of the city or the inflow of additional revenue to the region, and new NEO visitors, it was about the welfare of the omnipresent "us" of the nonprofit entity, the monster that takes on a life of its own in the nonprofit sector and devours everything, leaving little for the execution of the original mission. Emphasis and reformatting are mine.

What do we pay the rock-acolyte woosies for, anyway? Whatever it is, I think it's high time for a pay cut.

CMJ/Rock Hall Music Fest cancelled after two-year run

Posted by John Soeder April 06, 2007 10:08AM
John SoederPlain Dealer Pop Music Critic

Organizers have pulled the plug on the CMJ/Rock Hall Music Fest, after a two-year run. "Overall, we felt good about the program, but . . . the resources it took for us to produce it were larger than we could bear," said Todd Mesek, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum's vice president of marketing and communications.

Mesek declined to reveal the cost of mounting the festival, which was partly underwritten by sponsors.

The event put a strain on Rock Hall staffers, too.

"On top of their day jobs here, they had to run the festival," Mesek said. "They weren't getting paid extra."

The inaugural Music Fest, held over three days and four nights in June 2005 at the Rock Hall and other Cleveland venues, featured performances by 100 acts, including the Pixies and Grandmaster Flash. The festivities drew 17,800 people. DJ Peretz (aka Perry Ferrell of Jane's Addiction) and Matisyahu were among the 100-plus acts in town for the 2006 festival, which expanded to five days and nights last June. Attendance increased 7 percent, to 19,100.

Music Fest had an annual economic impact of $3 million, with half of the attendees each year coming from outside Northeast Ohio, Mesek said.
The festival was a joint venture between the Rock Hall and the CMJ (College Media Journal) Network, whose long-running CMJ Music Marathon in New York City lures upwards of 100,000 fans every fall to check out 1,000 bands.

"Although we're disappointed that [Music Fest] will not be happening in 2007, we're very proud of its success and accomplishments in '05-'06 and honored to have partnered with the Rock Hall as well as the incredible members of Cleveland's live music community," CMJ founder Bobby Haber said in an e-mail.

Clubs put up their own money to book acts during the festival.

"A small group of people had to struggle to pull it together," said Cindy Barber, co-owner of the Beachland Ballroom and Tavern, one of Music Fest's partner venues.
"We couldn't get big-name bands, because we didn't have the money to pay them," Barber said. "The only extra stuff we got was some improved marketing."
All the same, she is disappointed to see Music Fest go."It was a great idea," Barber said. "There just wasn't enough funding to pull it off."

In the past, Rock Hall and CMJ officials said they hoped to grow the festival over a period of several years.

"At the end of the day, to build it would've required taking more resources from other museum projects," Mesek said.

Instead, the Rock Hall plans to beef up free events at the museum, including community festivals and the Summer in the City concert series, Mesek said.

"We also plan to develop new programs with local clubs, because we feel promoting live music in the city helps all of us, including the Rock Hall," Mesek said.

Music Fest "was an experiment," Mesek said. "We wanted to make it happen for the good of the city. . . . Now we're trying to find a model that works for the city and for us."

inaugural launch of The Real Deal: Now is the accepted time

The Real Deal--I got an email this morning announcing this new NEO blog by our friend Richard Andrews, whom we know through the Meet.The.Bloggers sessions at I-Open's Mid-Town Brews at WebTego and through Mid-Town Mornings at Nead Brand Partners. Are you beginning to see how the networks work, and what the names are and the brands imply? Attribution is hard because there's so much collaboration and overlap, but I hope everybody's beginning to get the picture.

But, back to The Real Deal. Richard is a writer with a track record that goes back a good while. The Real Deal shows promise of being just that. Go there now. I'll meet you.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Jonathan Sheffer: a red couch floating in Lake Erie

I heard new sounds tonight. I didn't know you could do all those things with an orchestra. Jonathan Sheffer does.

You can still see That Red Guy tomorrow at 3. It was really quite good, and we bought the book, Cleveland in Prose and Poetry, on which the second part of the concert (a red couch floating in Lake Erie) is based.

As we left the Masonic Auditorium, one line from the concert continued to resonate: "Only when you leave, will you know where you were."

Great show.

the Breuer building demolition: ignoring the public, muzzling the MSM

Read Perspective from Roldo Bartimole: Roldo a few days ago, on the Breuer building's short shrift and summary judgment:

"So it was surprising to me that Litt got shabbily cuffed by the PD after he strongly lobbied for Cuyahoga County’s stubborn commissioners (two at least, Tim Hagan and Jimmy Dimora) to think more about the decision to destroy the 29-story Marcel Breuer building behind the historic old Cleveland Trust domed building at East 9th Street and Euclid Avenue.

On March 29, 2007, just before the final vote by the Commissioners, Litt wrote a final plea... “The deal – with a cost of $218 million and counting – has looked bad from the beginning. It still does. Hagan and Dimora ought to heed the views of Commissioner Peter Lawson Jones, who favors the cheaper – and more environmentally and architecturally sensitive – option of renovating the tower,” Litt wrote.

Then Hagan and Dimora quietly voted to go ahead with the razing of the 1971 building. (Anything more than 30 years old is dispensable in our society.

Taxpayers will pay for a new expensive headquarters for the Commission and its 1,700 employees. I’ll bet that not two years will pass before the County will rent more office space elsewhere."

Then the PD demoted the uppity Sam Fulwood III just to make sure Steve Litt got the message not to get too uppity himself, ever again. Tom Feran's gone as well. Who's this Terrance E. Z. Egger playing to, anyway?

And where's Kathleen Crowther of the Cleveland Restoration Society on all this? Why do we have a restoration society in the first place, and what happened to their advocacy role? Shouldn't this be a fairly easy position to take, taking a stand and not lying down in the hopes that funding won't be disrupted?

And who's speaking to Robert Madison's embarrassing conflicts of interest? I guess that begs the question, Who can you embarrass around here any more, anyway?

priorities for in-town living

90.3 WCPN News: The Downtown Comeback: "Alan Ehrenhalt: This is one of the last pieces to fall in place before this comeback. First you need the streets to be safe. Then you [sic] commerce: stores, restaurants, coffee houses, theaters. Then you need public transit to get them to work. Then some adventurous families will move in if all goes well enough of them to improve the schools. That's how it'll work, not the other way around."

I agree that safety is the primary concern for people who live in cities. That's one reason that Cleveland elected and appointed officials have compromised us: they have cut our safety budget to the bone, laid off police, and embarrassed us with sellouts like the "Ladder 42" debacle. Since the days of Ben Franklin, we have known that safety is the first priority for city dwellers, yet we here in Cleveland allow our representatives to circumvent the wisdom of fully staffed and functional safety forces and spend the money instead on consultants, studies, abatements, demolitions, and street projects. Our largest budget expenditure should be for safety; safety costs for adequate staffing should be fully satisfied, and then we should pay for all other expenses after that. We need to take care of ourselves first at the most basic level. We need to be able to walk the streets, all of them, and ride the buses, at all hours, with relative impunity.

Second, we should improve the transit system. I differ with Alan Ehrenhalt on this piece of the revitalization equation. If the transit system doesn't run frequently and way beyond normal business hours, there's no point in building commerce in town. If you build commerce first, the businesses can starve to death waiting on safety services and transit services. The basic structure must be there before business can survive, and then prosper. Also, if you build public transit first, it makes it possible to demolish less for automobile parking, as you build our your "commerce."

Also, to improve transit is relatively simple and doesn't take a massive civic upset like the Euclid Corridor to make things more viable immediately--the main purpose of the corridor is to put $300 million in motion, not to improve our mobility. We already had a lot of buses running up and down Euclid Avenue before the corridor "improvement" began. All you have to do is increase the frequency of the runs, so that people can transfer from one route to another with very little down time. This would cost way less than $300 million, to get us functional. One of the reasons middle-class and upper-class people don't use public transit is because they can't afford to wait an hour--or more--for the next bus to appear. We have to have the expectation that a bus will come along in 10-15 minutes, so we can be on our way timely, and safely. There's no point in wasting time or putting yourself at undue risk of harm or robbery. Anybody who has spent an hour or more waiting at night on the 79 to come through public square knows that there are no police maintaining order, either in patrol cars or on foot, and that you are at the mercy of the crazies and the drug dealers, and these latter ply their trade freely at the bus stops.

Adventurous families have already moved in, some as many as 35 years ago; we have the people here right now, and these planners from the ivory towers of academia are looking around for new people to lure in, new progams to start, new grants to receive, and new palaver to get them an audience. They ought to be playing to their base of core urban dwellers, yet we've had to fight with our government, our nonprofits, the department of transportation, and our planning departments to protect our interests since the early 1980s. The younger "wealthy" can see what our lives have been like, how we've had to protect our neighborhoods against the depradations of the people who should supposedly work for the public good, and these younger "wealthy" have no problem with not joining the fray, when you can't trust the planners who want to entice you to move into an abusive situation, where you can spend half your time protecting a teetering status quo. Our kids know how much time we've spent trying to keep our community stable; they know it's time the other kids' parents spent working for themselves and their families solely, building their own wealth, living in a safer suburban setting.

We need to start telling our stories about the sellout in this town these past 35 years. We need to start telling the truth.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

The 100 Smartest Companies of 2007

The 100 Smartest Companies of 2007 -- there's an interesting methodology used in the valuations here, and it's along the lines of what we've been trying to get our heads around with this new "knowledge economy" of the Third Wave. Basically, it goes Market Value/Market Capitalization minus Financial Value/Shareholder Equity equals Knowledge Value, and this Knowledge Value, divided by the number of Employees, equals the Knowledge Value per Employee. I'm not saying that it's right or wrong, accurate or inaccurate, realistic or whacked--what's interesting is that we're starting to talk about it.

The only name I notice here that has local ties is that of Developers Diversified Realty, at number 73/100.

You have a click-through on the eWeek article that requires registration with eWeek before you get the link to the Baseline rankings. If you have trouble, let me know and we'll see if we can do a work-around.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

prosumers and the nonmonetary wealth system

Alvin Toffler: The Thought Leader Interview--I stumbled across this Toffler interview from this past winter and thought I ought to share it. In it, he's described as "a brilliant synthesist." It's a fairly long interview, but it gives a fairly good synopsis of where the Tofflers' thought is right now. It's worth your investment of a few minutes.

By the way, we just this afternoon completed a conversation with another brilliant synthesist, Red {an orchestra}'s Jonathan Sheffer, and George should have this posted soon to MTB. There is another Red concert series offering, That Red Guy, this coming Saturday and Sunday, and I believe that tickets are still available. We'll be there Saturday.

I understand there's another interview with Jonathan just put up today on Cool Cleveland.

nationwide affordable housing awareness campaign

NAHRO: Affordable Housing a High Priority, According to New Affordable Housing Poll--According to the article here, we just got done with a nationwide campaign to heighten our awareness of the need for affordable housing. I didn't notice much conversation around here, but maybe it was just me. I'm just hoping that any campaigners' plans do not include more HUD involvement with section 8 schemes and things like the CMHA. To do a take-off on an old libertarian-party idea, if we just took all the money we give to HUD employees and section 8 landlords and divvied it up and gave it directly to the poor, they could afford market-rate housing. Here's a good part of the article--

For a growing and more economically-diverse number of families, children, seniors and persons with disabilities, affordable housing in quality communities is illusionary. Housing America 2007 aims to raise public consciousness of the critical role of housing and community development initiatives and the fundamental benefits the nation receives from these activities. From March 21 - April 9, 2007, affordable-housing advocates across the country will participate in the campaign by sponsoring events or activities designed to highlight the critical affordable housing shortage and the need for programs, policies and resources to more effectively address local housing needs.
The poll results released today underscore America's affordable housing crisis. One-third of respondents cited having a decent, affordable place to live as their number one priority. The poll also shows that affordable housing will affect the way Americans vote. Seventy-five percent said that presidential candidates' ideas for providing more affordable housing were important in determining for whom they would vote. Nearly seven in ten said they would be more likely to vote for a candidate who had articulated a detailed plan for providing affordable housing.
The groups have united in the Housing America 2007 campaign to address the housing needs of a nation in which an estimated 754,000 are homeless on any given night, and minimum wage earners are unable to afford a one-bedroom home anywhere in the country. Housing America 2007 asks that we, as a nation, recommit ourselves to a goal of meeting the housing needs of all Americans.

Monday, April 09, 2007

an urban guerrilla Easter

I was just reflecting on what a great day we had today, in the midst of and despite all the snow we had in town and on the near west side. We are lucky enough to live right on the bus line, so we were able to mitigate our road risk and take the 79 right downtown to Starbucks on West 6th (which does not shovel and refuses to shovel its walks, by the way, even when called on it) to wait on the 10 AM Easter brunch at The ChopHouse, and it was good. We then still had time to catch the 326 up to East Ninth Street for the 1215 Easter Sunday mass, which the rector of the cathedral, Father Edward Estok, celebrated in a very elegant ceremony, replete with brass. It was a remarkable celebration. Then, dallying on the way out, we got to introduce ourselves and talk for a few minutes to the new Bishop of Cleveland, Richard G. Lennon. The 326 then took us back to Public Square, and the 79 dropped us off back home on Denison by 2:30 PM. We got to savor a lot of Cleveland, and that too, was good. We'll have to run this routine more often. It was a great way to spend a leisurely Sunday.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Sam Miller addresses county-ism

Video on Demand -- In the Mike Roberts MTB interview on March 29th, he suggested we talk with Sam Miller, and now, here comes Sam airing a few proposals with Tom Beres. Mike also recommended we talk to the Mark Rosentraub, and Miller mentions Rosentraub as somebody who should do a study. Perhaps we should take Roberts' advice.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

great news from Tremont

Plain Press: The Community Newspaper Serving Cleveland's West Side Neighborhoods -- great article here about Sammy Catania providing new leadership at the Tremont nonprofit, news about reinvolving the neighbors, expanding wi-fi using local contractors, security cameras to enhance safety, branding with a logo that sounds attractive and cool, fostering transparency and communication, building out the community, strengthening the networks already there. This bears watching, perhaps emulating.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

prancing lightweights

RE: Jennifer Brunner's Son Right Angle Blog - Ohio's Online Conservative Community -- Here's the note from me that Matt Naugle mentioned as being "negative." I intended it to be instructive and defining. These jejune political-specialty bloggers are twisting and perverting our political dialogues still further, to a point where we have prancing lightweight posers and gossip-mongers purportedly speaking for all of us. These Blackwell boy-acolytes are not my Republican party. My note follows:

Matt, it seems you've created a little stir in the blogosphere this morning with that cheap shot using the Brunner kid. This is the kind of cheesy, low-level, inconsequential baiting that keeps us all from moving forward as a community--you're trying to divide people who should be working together.

The worst thing about it all is that you say you're doing this in the name of conservatism and the Republican Party. Please, don't pretend to be speaking for the rest of us.

We may be in the same party, but we're not on the same team.

My team builds community and works for the good of all the people, not just for a particular shrill, fringe faction of a party now in decline in this state because it got too

wonder if this has anything to do with the stress caused by the residency laws Firefighter charged with racy park romp. (MASON, Ohio) Click through for the head shot, with wig.

"Steven S. Cole, a 46-year-old volunteer firefighter, told an officer he was on his way to a Dayton bar to perform as a woman in a contest offering a $10,000 prize, the arrest report said.

"He pleaded not guilty Thursday to charges of drunken driving, public indecency and disorderly conduct.

"Cole was arrested Tuesday after police received a report that an intoxicated man was walking and driving around Heritage Oak Park in Mason. Police said Cole was wearing a blond wig, pink flip-flops and a red-black-and-white striped bikini with the top filled out by tan water balloons.

"His blood-alcohol test registered 0.174, more than twice Ohio's legal driving limit of 0.08, the arrest report said."

a vibrant and healthy housing market, built on our backs

A friend told me a while back about some incredibly disturbing comments made by National City Bank chief economist Richard DeKaser on this March 26th Sound of Ideas broadcast hosted by Dan Moulthrop over at WCPN. The gist of the rep's closing comment, heard at the end of the *.MP3, is that we shouldn't take action to correct the problems of the foreclosure situation on the backs of the lenders who created the problems in the first place; doing so would ruin the housing market, which needs to be "vibrant and healthy."

The implication is that, in order not to ruin the markets, we should allow the fraudulent processes to continue to devastate our neighbors; we should allow the lenders to continue to strip the equity from our communities and take it to themselves, to seize the property, evict our neighbors, and sit on the equity until things get better, when they can get "new people" into these same houses and start the unhealthy processes all over again. We should allow them to continue make their money on the backs of our community.

The disturbing thing is, Richard is a highly articulate and recently acclaimed expert saying that action to force the lenders to abrogate past contracts and mitigate the damage to individuals would ruin the market. I don't quibble with this. As usual, he is forecasting quite correctly, and that's what he's noted for being able to do well. Any action we take now to save our communities will undoubtedly cause pain and perhaps even ruin for more than a few of these bankers.

What I do take issue with is where he's trying to place the blame for ruining things, making things bad for the housing market, compelling a flight of capital and industry, knocking the legs out from under the lending business. He wants to lay the blame on those who would go against the lenders now, requiring them to do the right thing and correct the past fraudulent takings. What he doesn't do is have the banks take ownership of the mess, and that's really disturbing.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Cingular/AT&T Wireless and Sprint/Nextel are blocking FreeConferenceCall numbers

FreeConferenceCall Blog Site > Home ( DNN 4.3.6 ): Here's a revolting development of phone carriers throwing their weight around. We have used FreeConferenceCall for about two years now, and their services have multiplied exponentially in that time. This seems to be a case of the vestiges of the Second Wave trying to hold their ground and maintain their entrenched interests as the Third Wave proceeds to engulf them. Don't miss the video here that will make everything more understandable. In a defensive move, FreeConference call has started an email campaign and a blog:

Last week, some of our Cingular and Sprint customers began calling into customer service with issues surrounding their connections to our service. After speaking with Cingular’s customer service group, our customers were given numerous, and unfounded, reasons for the call blockage. Reasons cited included fraud, international forwarding, fee disputes and, to our astonishment, that we were blocking our own FreeConferenceCall numbers. We cannot corroborate or justify any of these reasons. FreeConferenceCall would never knowingly impede our customers from using our services. For now, we can tell you that a Cingular spokesperson has gone on record and stated that their terms of service gives them the right to block any number they wish and also said that AT&T’s wireless service is "between one person and another person, not between one person and many." Cingular and Sprint have chosen to block service to our shared customers regardless of Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rules and regulations. Neither carrier has ever directly complained, filed suit or even contacted FreeConferenceCall. The upshot is that carriers are basically telling you that a cell phone is not intended for use on conference calls of any type. As a total commitment to our customers, we have quickly ramped up to help them deal with this issue. If you are experiencing connectivity problems, please call us directly at 877-482-5838. We promise to give you unparalleled technical support and will treat every customer with immediate, personalized attention...
...Thanks to the grassroots efforts of our customers, partners and the blogosphere, the current phone blocking situation has quickly become a turbo-charged topic rife with controversy. On one hand, we have the telecom giants – in fairness to these companies, they have laid the infrastructure and given us the 5 9’s of phone reliability that we continue to leverage. On the other hand, you have those companies that disrupt and drive change in an antiquated industry that is 100 years old and in dire need of a face lift. However, it appears that larger forces are at work than simply a debate between two sides of the telecom fence. We are facing issues that will likely define how we handle our business, our customers and our communications in the future...