Thursday, May 31, 2007

James O. bails

The event listed below is canceled until further notice. I've also canceled the event on Sorry if it looked too good to be true. It was very real for a brief moment. Really.

James O. unloads antiques 'n things

Our friend, photographer Jamie Janos, is having a sale tomorrow and Saturday at his studio, and it looks to be stupendous. We may very well drop by after going to the City Planning Commission session about the Breuer Tower.

gas at 10 cents a gallon, with drugs, meditation, and long motorcycle rides to quiet the inner voices

The Travels of Dan Moore, III -- Dan has another installment on his motorcycle road trip, and there's some really good stuff there. It's frustrating when it all cycles into a *.PDF link on the arrival of the next installment.

I wish somebody had set him up right on his "blog" before he left; a true blog format, as opposed to a pseudo-blog web-page format has a dynamism that survives and endures long after the journey is past.

the "skyline impact" and the economics of the Breuer Tower

Meet the Bloggers » Cuy Co Commissioner Peter Lawson Jones and Sustainability Director Joyce Burke-Jones re: Breuer Tower -- I see that our May 23rd session at Webtego about Breuer Brouhaha is posted, and I wanted to acknowledge all the fine community discussion this misstep by Jimmy DiMora and Tim Hagan has engendered.

Yesterday, I got my first glimpse of Thomas Mulready's podcast with PLJ (Peter Lawson Jones), and it's worth spending 20 minutes to see an interview done with tough questions done right; because he is a good friend to Peter and to the community, Thomas stayed on task with the issues, especially the gonzo economics, and stood in the place of many of us who are wondering why something so financially counterintuitive is going forward at all. Two of the three county commissioners are draining our collective community power by wasting our time and our energy, as well as our money. Listen to how the proposal process was compromised and manipulated from the get-go, with the consulting firms being told to address only new construction, not adaptive reuse.

George over at BFD took a unique tack on the Breuer session and broke it down into five snippets, for quick consumption. George is making it easy to do business with Meet.The.Bloggers.

Susan rallies the troops over at RealNEO. She advises us to be there early to sign in and also talks about room 501. I guess we'll just have to sort that out when we get there. Norm in the comments invites us over for lunch afterward.

Gloria over at Save Our Land reminds us to show up tomorrow for the planning commission meeting, Friday, June 1st, at 9 AM, room 514, City Hall, even though I don't see it as a topic on the draft CPC agenda. Let's hope they all pay attention to detail tomorrow and show up on time, or show up at all. Cimperman, I have observed personally, has a habit of staying away when the chips are down.

Marc over at GCBL reminds us as well, gives sage advice and agglomeration, and publishes a letter from Daryl Davis while he shows links to YouTube. The Cuyahoga County Planning Commission reports on the arrival of Davis Brody Bond, the out-of-town experts, to present their analysis at the CPC confab tomorrow. There's a lot of energy swirling around this issue--embodied energy, embedded energy, whatever you want to call it, but it's stirred up a storm.

If you can, be there. Take the time to listen to the entire MTB session, especially the comments I brought in from Bob Gaede about "the skyline impact." This is something that had hitherto been absent from the Breuer community dialogue. Also, hear architect David Ellison on Breuer and LEED standards. There's a ton of great material in the full session.

"little ambassadors"

Meet the Bloggers » David Gray, Publisher, Gray & Company --David Gray, on May 16th, described his local publishing house's 75+ titles as "little ambassadors" for Cleveland+ and the NEO region. That got me to thinking about the CVB and how they should be promoting locals who are themselves doing significant regional promoting. They at The Bureau, and "The Partnership," do not yet link to David Gray, who has a business model predicated on publishing local flavor and lore. Gray's is a business model that could succeed anywhere, and perhaps we will see more like it in other areas with stories to tell and intrinsically valuable features to promote, areas like Cleveland and its environs+.

What's odd is that nobody paid specifically to promote the area has figured out there could be leverage, or synergy, in promoting Gray.

Gray's books, the little ambassadors, fall into two categories: guide books, and gift books. I would have loved to get most of them when I was living away from home, in college, in the service, as a "Yankee boy" in the booming Atlanta of the late'70s. They are appreciative books, and will be appreciated by any recipients who are fond of--or just interested in--our area.

David is one of the businesspeople who's helping wake us up around here to the fact we must take care of each other, that we can all move forward if nobody is left behind.

He also brings us to a awareness that books are media, just as are the newspapers, radio, TV, and MTB. Listen. It's instructive. And be sure to browse the site. Mike O' Malley at the PD tells us that Michael Heaton, another "ambassador," but under the guise of "minister of culture," has a book coming out about now through Gray's.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

historic, art deco building available for third-wave business & owner

art deco historic Jednota office building for lease -- Our friend Dennis just let us know that he is ready to lease out his office building on East 55th at Broadway. This is an incredibly attractive property for someone who wants to live luxuriantly above his or her business -- Dennis and Georgia did for years with their medical electronics company. Now, they're in a renovated loft down the street. This is a one-of-a-kind opportunity in an unbelievable property. Near I-490, Broadway, Hyacinth Lofts, & I-77, and a short hop to two airports.

Monday, May 28, 2007

real-estate blinders

As Condos Rise in South Florida, Nervous Investors Try to Flee - New York Times -- There's a parallel here to Cleveland -- in both places, they keep building new, regardless of what the markets are telling them.

In Cleveland, they add the extra incentive of tax abatement. City Council recently voted 20 to 1 in favor of continuation of tax abatement, even though since 1997, the tax-abated properties have been directly offset by the number of unsold, vacant, abandoned, and foreclosed existing properties--the number is in the 10,000 to 12,000 range, and nobody has yet done a study that mentions this fact. It seems that the big picture is what we should focus on first but, hey, around here we ignore the numbers and focus on the hype, the feel-good proposition.

Our Ward 15 councilman Brian Cummins was the lone holdout, and we're proud of him for speaking out against an unfair imposition on long-time residents. But, to put him on notice, some sneaky little scuttling bureaucratic creep allowed a typically Cleveland+ "oops!" to happen, and a house Brian had lined up for renovation on Riverside Avenue was demolished, in a snafu, on a Saturday.

Anyway, here's the after-action report on the insanity in South Florida:

“I get two or three of these calls a day,” said James Ryan, a lawyer in Boca Raton who said he had 40 clients looking to get out of condo contracts. One, Mr. Ryan said, abandoned a $340,000 deposit rather than close on a $1.6 million unit that lost its appeal as the market faltered. The numbers suggest that it will only get worse. In Miami-Dade County alone, 8,000 new condo units will be completed this year and nearly 12,000 more in 2008. But demand has dropped markedly, and people who thought they could “flip” condos — buying, then selling for a steep profit before construction is done — are parting with that fantasy. After years of stunning price increases — 25 percent in the West Palm Beach-Boca Raton area, for example, from March 2005 to March 2006 — condo prices have started dropping.

Friday, May 25, 2007

friendly riders of The Silk Road

The Travels of Dan Moore, III -- Local businessman Dan Moore has entered the blogosphere from the Orient; all May he has been recounting his adventure motorcycle trip as he and an international bike gang of clean-cut, friendly riders with computers and SAT phones tool from Istanbul to Xian, China. This latest post has Dan wiping out and wrecking his computer and then giving laundry tips that are more Erma Bombeck than Heloise, something about composting your drawers. There's some really good stuff here, far better than the typical travelogue. It's not really in a blog format, so I don't know if RSS feeds will keep us updated, but you need to spend some time with Dan and his gang of middle-class, middle-aged marauders. We're now breathlessly waiting for Marge and the cavalry to arrive with new equipment. Stay tuned.

Perhaps Dan can MeetTheBloggers when he comes back intact.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

CVB can't find many events to promote

Event Finder--at the link here is the Events page of the Convention and Visitors Bureau of Greater Cleveland. The title of the orgnization is nearly longer than the list of events--5 through September. I see no links for expanded lists. I see no links to things like CoolCleveland, or, or many of the local curiosities. To the casual browser, the Cleveland portrayed by the CVB looks boring. There's no mention of the Ingenuity Festival, the Burning River Fest, or any of the unique things that distinguish us from other cities. I wonder where Cleveland is on the radar of meeting planners?

The 2005 form 990 available through Guidestar for this 501(c)(6) nonprofit monster shows $7.1 million being fed into its gaping maw; what do we ever see come out? Carry the metaphor as far as you want. Talk amongst yourselves. What links and lists do should we, and the meeting planners, be seeing for the vibrant Cleveland+?

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

the three sources of power: time, energy, & money

simple•ology : The Simple Science of Getting What You Want -- I'm reading a couple of books by Mark Joyner these past few weeks. The latest is simple•ology, published by John Wiley & Sons in 2007. In an adjunct, on-line companion to the book, Joyner points out that there are, quite simply, three sources of power: time, energy, and money.

Tonight, we're assembling at Webtego's offices in the ArtCraft Building to spend our time and energy questioning the probity of the demolition of the Breuer Tower, and the subsequent construction of a smaller building designed by a lesser talent. Early indications are that there are going to be a good number of professionals and experts present. (For details, follow this link to Peter Lawson Jones will appear. Jimmy DiMora won't. He's sending in his stead the Cuyahoga County Green Queen, a lady with a hyphenated last name and not a whole lot of visible credentials. Tim Hagan has not replied--he hides behind a lot of sassbox gatekeepers (also paid for by all of us, by the way) and can't really be held responsible personally for anything. It seems that Jimmy and Tim don't see the value of engaging in an open and transparent public dialogue on the topic; even though they're on our payroll (supposedly, "we the people" are their biggest source of income, and they are engaged by us to serve the public interest), they don't see fit to spend time and energy explaining their plans to us, but they certainly feel free to spend our money on a binge of reckless buying, wrecking, and reconstructing.

What I'm getting around to is the fact that we all ought to be highly indignant that not only are they spending our public money foolishly, but they're also hijacking our time and our energy, wasting our sources of power until we get to the point where we figure we've expended enough of our own finite assets fighting our own government, and then they'll do what they want to do. They'll wear us down, wait us out, keep us in the dark, and suddenly say, oops, we didn't know we'd have cost overruns, but what the heck, it's a done deal and we have to finish what we started.

Let's change things around here. The fact that you can't trust your government is one of the big reasons nobody wants to come here to do business. This applies both to the city and the county. We need to make a big change, and we need to do it now. We need to take our money back, and our time, and our energy. We need to harness our public servants to do what's in our best interests, to save our time and energy by executing our mandates. We need to turn it around on them. They are employed to serve us, the public, and not the unions and the construction companies, not the banks and the issuers of bonds, and certainly not the owners of the landfills and the would-be operators of new landfills.

If you're interested in the Joyner material, here's the instruction from the cover page of his Virtuosity Book:

This book is intended to be distributed as part of simple•ology 101 to authorized members only. It must be used in conjunction with the simple•ology 101 Assigned Targets. Distribution is prohibited.

If you wish to share this document with someone, please direct them to and ask them to sign up for a free account.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

bring in the guilds: recognizing excellence and value

Psychobilly Democrat: Why Should I Buy American? -- Good points made by our friend Jason and his commenters about what really constitutes "American-made," where you can find value for your car dollar, and why we need to be critical of blind sloganeering. We need to focus on the many benefits that accrue to the local community from foreign investment and from American-made products sporting foreign names. It's time for enlightened self-interest. It's time to forget the paid propagandists who have been pushing the union agenda, to benefit the unions first at the expense of the community. They've had their run, during the second wave. Now, in the third wave, it's time for guilds, where excellence is the thing that distinguishes the member, not the ability to enter collective bargaining and to strike.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

MTB did this two years ago

Alliance Pushes NBC To Open Presidential Debate To Bloggers, Internet -- Presidential Debates -- Interesting developments for copyrights, MeetTheBloggers, and so forth. Around here, we've been sharing the community dialogues for a good while, on our way back to democracy That Kos character, quoted later in the article, makes us remember that he has more to do with being shrill and keeping people at odds than he does with uniting a community for a common purpose, attaining its own best interests. He likes to emphasize the differences, not the commonalities; he's paid best when he harps on the differences and crafts exaggerated distinctions.

CNN has promised to free its footage of sanctioned presidential debates for Internet use and distribution. But an alliance of voters and technology leaders haven't persuaded NBC to do the same.
The Democratic National Committee sanctioned six debates Wednesday. A group of organizers wants the debates licensed as Creative Commons or placed in the public
domain so they can be aired legally on YouTube and used in blogs.

The group -- which includes members of both major political parties, as well as Craig Newmark and Jimmy Wales, the founders of Cragislist and
Wikipedia -- used the occasion to renew demands that the material be made available without restrictions. The alliance has sent letters asking both parties' national committees to use their power to press for free and open airing of the debates.

Lawrence Lessig, law professor at Stanford Law School and founder of the school's Center for Internet and Society, is spearheading the effort. Lessig also chairs the Creative Commons project.
"I am very hopeful that both the Republicans and the Democrats will help encourage the extraordinary public discussion around the election that the Internet has enabled, by removing any uncertainty about the right of the people to comment upon the speech of presidential candidates," Lessig said in a statement.

CNN announced last week that its footage would be open.

"Due to the historical nature of presidential debates and the significance of these forums to the American public, CNN believes strongly that the debates should be accessible to the public," the division of Turner Broadcasting Company said in a news release.

"The candidates need to be held accountable for what they say throughout the election process. The presidential debates are an integral part of our system of government, in which the American people have the opportunity to make informed choices about who will serve them. Therefore, CNN debate coverage will be made available without restrictions at the conclusion of each live debate. We believe this is good for the country and good for the electoral process." (more)

politics pays

Obama is the poor man among the top tier contenders Chicago Tribune -- In case anybody is still wondering why people have become so embroiled in politics, the simple answer is that it pays, as this article points out. It's incredible how much money the political dialogue attracts lately, and the amount seems to be growing exponentially. There are great gobs of money sloshing around the beltway, and I'm beginning to wonder whether this is a healthy concentration of assets. What is being produced? What do "we the people" have to show for it all? Are we being used? Where are the cost/benefit ratios?

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

protecting the Collinwood legacy

Meet the Bloggers » Cleveland City Councilman Mike Polensek -- Here's a good interview we did last week at Carol's Agape Christian Books & Cafe at 15813 Waterloo. I'm not of the East Side any more, so I hadn't been to Collinwood for a good while. I was pleasantly surprised. Mike Polensek has been safeguarding the legacy.

The first clue you have driving into the neighborhood is that it's clean. The second impression I got was that the brick street to the east of the cafe was in good shape--they hadn't patched it with asphalt or concrete--they had done what they were supposed to do, taken up the brick, made repairs, and re-laid the brick. The street was restored, not hastily patched. When I asked Polensek about this, he proudly stated that they paid attention to preserving their brick streets. In our ward, they consider this an impossible task, and we forfeit legacy daily to the depradations of the utility companies and the division of streets.

Mike pays attention to the details. It seems he does what he says he's going to do. He's a welcome counterpoint to the young flibbertigibbet downtown and to the west of him. As "The Dean" of City Council, he lends some stability and value to what otherwise would be a convocation of half-steppers, compromisers, and chameleons. I think you can count on him to protect the citizens' interests first. Listen, and decide for yourself.

Meet.The.Bloggers have decided to hold their Bloggapalooza this year on July 28th at the Beachland Ballroom during the Waterloo Arts Fest. The Beachland is just down the street from Carol's Agape Cafe; the area is definitely back and in move-in condition. You don't need tax abatement to make Collinwood attractive; it has intrinsic value.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

here's another reason for the SB117 full frontal assault

DirecTV May Test Broadband over Powerline - News and Analysis by PC Magazine -- It seems that AT&T may be outflanked here, by just about everybody--the cable companies, the VoIP providers, the cellphone companies, the satellite providers, and now, to add insult to injury, our friend the electric company, and that more than likely accounts for AT&T's haste and desperation in ramming through the bad-for-everybody-but-them legislation known here in Ohio as SB117, sponsored by Lance Mason and Bob Spada.

If we can get broadband over our electrical power lines or through the air or over cable, and we can get VoIP over broadband, we don't really need all that legacy POTS that AT&T has held onto for years without improving, all the while charging premium prices for it. It seems that this is reckoning day for AT&T, and they're trying to dodge their demise by cozying up to our state legislators and trying to put their signature tin boxes on every treelawn between here and Cincinnati.

In the process, they're making us a technological laughingstock and pointing up our technological illiteracy and innumeracy as a community.

Remember, we don't owe AT&T anything. Let the market forces prevail. Let them fail. Do not let AT&T prove the sad old theorem we last heard from the open-source man, Bruce Perens: "If you can't innovate, legislate."

Sunday, May 13, 2007

hungry government turns eyes to nonprofits

WebCPA Redesign for Form 990 on the Way -- Lately, for at least the past year, the IRS has been setting up guidance for the nonprofit sector, which is sort of fat and juicy and wild and wooly these days. Guidance precedes audits and fishing expeditions. There are all sorts of things coming up addressing fiduciary issues, conflict-of-interest policies, and whistleblower policies. Now, the 990 form is getting a makeover to control shifting from regular operational expenses to programs to make it look as though the nonprofit is doing more good for the public than it actually is. Keep on an eye on these developments. They will have a huge impact.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the IRS is planning to solicit public comment on the current state of the 15-page, 100-question form for a three-month period beginning in June.

The report said that IRS officials are planning to create a form that is more logically organized, containing a main section with questions about an organization’s revenues, liabilities and programs. Beyond that, additional schedules will provide information on certain charitable activities such as lobbying. Still in its early stages, the information requested as part of the revamped form will still fall short of the kind of details required from public companies.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

they're doin' it in Knoxville, too

Free Press : Is Tennessee Ready for AT&T to Enter Cable Market? Here's an intelligent piece from The Knoxville News Sentinel about AT&T trying to pull off the same full-court-press offensive in Tennessee that it is in Ohio, regarding delivery of cable services.

There are so few positives and so many negatives to the legislation that I cannot really see why it's still alive and kicking, unless the money's talking just too, too loud to our elected and appointed employees.

The AT$T cable-delivery behemoths we've seen--across from the car barns off Pearl Road and up and down poor Clifton Boulevard--seem to be especially vulnerable to all sorts of disruption. They're hastily contrived and cheaply installed. I think they ought to be put below grade, first of all, for security purposes, then second, for shielding, and then third, for appearance.

The nasty evidence we see of AT$T's late-stage attempt at entry into the cable market, when they're losing telephone market share to VOIP providers, is sort of sad. They've been outflanked and now are lumbering around trying to respond with the quickest-but-not-the-best maneuver to gain a toehold--the technology seems not to be too well thought through, the design is barely sustainable. They are desparate. They want to stay alive, they want to stay in the game, they want to do it on our backs. We've found these past few years, with VOIP telephone delivery, that they've overcharged us for years. They've taken our discretionary savings dollars to themselves and back to Wall Street.

We don't owe them anything. And they don't really owe us customers anything, either, besides whatever service we contract to pay for. Remember that their first duty is to the shareholders, not the customers. And they're not good neighbors.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

time for that style makeover

While watching my minimalist concession to television viewing, Boston Legal, I got hooked by the news teaser about another police shooting.

Now, I've just got done with watching Ted Henry on Cleveland's Channel 5 deliver an innuendo-laden "news" report about the shooting of a young man over here in the vicinity of West 82nd and Denison. For my money, these TV stations are not our friends, and they're bad for the community at large. Go to Channel 5 on your own if you want to see the video clip, because I'm not going to link there.

The news whizzes at 5 gave scads of coverage to the decedent's girlfriend who says that everybody carries a gun, because it's "the style" these days. Instead of arguing for a style makeover, Ted goes through some stylin' himself in recounting, in detail, every other police shooting over the past 2-3 years, hinting at justice served up poorly. I'm fairly sure Ted doesn't live over here on Denison; he's clueless, yet he has the bully pulpit, if only for a few short moments. He's a menace, and I wonder if he's even aware.

Three officers, the early reports say, at 3 PM today simultaneously fired on 23-year-old Aaron Steele as he went for his stylish gun, 23-year-old Aaron with a history of assaulting police.

I don't think the question should be why did the police all shoot simultaneously, or whether they were justified. I think it should be why Aaron thought it was feasible or desirable or honorable to commit suicide by cop. Could sappy, sensational, unbalanced reportage like old Ted's have something to do with it? If they think this sad display of community bias is the equivalent of championing the underdog, they need to think again.

Turn off your TV; your life will improve immensely in 2-3 days. Send this to 12 of your closest friends and loved ones in the next 5 minutes, and you may see us delivered from the ignorant tyranny of the MSM within your lifetime.

+im running a fever lately

I've been sort of out of sorts, more than usual, since last Tuesday, having a return visit from the malady called bursitis the likes of which I haven't experienced in 40 years. One of the collateral benefits is the fever when it all goes up for grabs.

Friday, a young lady and I were discussing the Cleveland+ campaign, and I remarked that I was becoming inured to and even a bit fond of it, especially minus the Cleveland portion. I also told her of my new affectation of spelling my name "+im" to show that every day, in every way, I was a true believer, and certifiably so.

She then asked me how I pronounced that, and the fever said, "Plus, I am," which gave me an immediate Old-Testament flashback and imbued the whole scene with an importance far beyond the actuality.

Later, Dr. Seuss and "Sam I am/Green eggs and ham" tried to creep into the dialogue, but the concept wasn't sententious enough, so the fever and I dismissed it.

I'm hoping I'm recovering, and grateful that I have the t's to work with. So many don't.

TNR on netroots

The netroots is the most important movement since the Christian right -- I got this heads up from The New Republic, on the subject of netroots. It's long, but it's comprehensive. Here's the editor's take; the sign-in is free:

This week's magazine also includes an essay by Jonathan Chait on the left's new organizational infrastructure--a constellation of liberal bloggers and activists called the netroots. These activists have modeled themselves explicitly on the rise of the conservative movement. In fact, Chait argues that the netroots have grown into the most important political movement to arrive on the scene since the Christian right. When historians discuss the netroots in the decades to come, they will undoubtedly refer back to Chait's elegant and erudite essay.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Denise delivers a wake-up call--another strong voice emerging

Save Our Land: Losing Our History: You need to read the whole thing, about the emerging pattern of fraud and abuse. Denise nails it. About the only thing we don't have here is a recounting of how Allega, under contract, ripped the bridge's cantilevered sidewalk and gutter system off the bridge and accelerated it's surface decay, hastening they day when they thought they would get to pour more concrete. It's a hurt-and-rescue story that needs telling, in detail, even though they're now supposedly barred from doing work in the city (another "joke," perhaps?). We need to start talking about restitution. We need to start taking our money back. There's a pattern here, and Denise is onto it.
"The Fulton Road Bridge has been destroyed. Breuer Tower is on the destruction list. Other significant buildings downtown are endangered, if ODOT pursues its current plan for the Innerbelt.


We who have been labeled the poorest city in America are losing our hard-earned dollars hand-over-fist to bogus projects our government and agencies have cooked up. Not only that, but we are becoming ever poorer in terms of our historic infrastructure and heritage"

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

DIME: dense inert metal explosives

CRIMES AND CORRUPTIONS OF THE NEW WORLD ORDER NEWS: Israelis target Palestinians with weapons causing 'burns ... by heat so intense that many cases have required amputation': Here's a link sent to us by an expatriate friend who's spent his life since college in Bangkok. From a unique perspective, he scours the world news looking for evidence of injustice, lies, and political treachery, and here's one of his latest findings, something new to me, something that seems particularly reprehensible: DIME.
"This technology is one of a new range of 'low collateral damage' or LCD weapons designed to minimise the damage to nearby property, by confining its increased lethal effects to a restricted space. So it is 'ideal for densely populated areas' and 'helping the warfighter to prevent the loss of public support,' according to its enthusiastic proponents."