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Showing posts from August, 2013

Let The Good Times Roll

If one does not recognize limitations it can lead to psychological problems. We no longer are standing alone on the mountain. We are in the lead but other countries are clawing at our behind. Over the years we became fat and out of shape. We led the good life for decades and relaxed by taking on excessive debt rather than recognizing our superiority is slipping. We borrowed in excess to let the good times roll and we lost our work ethic thinking we were invincible and wanting more. The second reason for our decline is more admirable. We encouraged the rest of the world to be like us. At the end of World War II we were the last industrialized country standing and we did not use this superiority to take over the rest of the globe. We encouraged countries to take the route of democracy. We gave them aid and bribed them to become like us. Many of these countries did it and others like China, India and Brazil are now bonafide competitors. A second wrung of nations such as the southern

Stop And Frisk And Sleepless Night

Last night I did not sleep well thinking about Stop and Frisk . I am white and I was trying to understand how I would feel if I was black and lived in a part of the country where Stop and Frisk was enforced. I failed. I could not remove all of the history and experiences that I had as a white man from my thought process. After about thirty minutes I took a different approach and tried to assume a world where everyone was of the same race, national origin and social/economic background. This helped my thought process. If, in this fantasy world, there was a certain section of a nation or city that had an extremely high crime rate that was resulting in robberies, assaults and killings what would you want to do?

Who Owns College Football

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America! Is it too late?

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"Should it really matter if some other country is richer and more militarily powerful? Who cares if some other country has economic supremacy as long as your country is prosperous and can manage its own internal affairs. For example the countries of Denmark, Sweden and Norway, each economically advanced, seem to have no qualms about who rules the world as long as they are left alone to be prosperous and peaceful, though their attitude might well change were whoever held the purse strings to start to curb their freedoms and encroach upon their way of life. But until that happens, whether the global financier is China, Russia or America seems, for them, largely irrelevant." How the West Was Lost Dambisa Moyo America is losing it and it will take drastic action for us to get back on course. Why has this happened? We forgot, never learned, how to compete.  Consumption  We allowed our government to fail  We put ourselves in too much debt and became over leveraged.  We m

Stop and Frisk

In times of crisis individual freedoms are sacrificed for the long term viability of the nation. This happened  after the bombing of the Twin Towers in New York on September 11, 2001. Security was tightened at airports, cameras were installed in cities and internet activities by citizens are still being monitored by the NSA. Everyone agreed that the country needed to to step up its security and accepted the fact that individual freedoms  had to be temporarily sacrificed to some degree. Yes, there presently is much discussion relating to whether the NSA has gone too far with its phone wire taping and tracking movement on the internet, but there was general agreement after 911 we needed to take extraordinary actions. Detroit is in a time of crisis and if drastic actions are not taken the city will continue to lose population and its financial troubles will get worse. Detroit does not have the luxury of just implementing long term solutions, waiting for these efforts to bare fruit

Race Relations And The Starting Point

Progress should be celebrated, along with the recognition that more needs to be done. I am a white male and 50 years ago I was 17 and living in Flint, Michigan near the "black border". I just graduated from a Catholic high school that was on the black side of the border. The students were 95% white. Part of the reason for the nation being stuck where we are when it comes to our perspective of current equality of the races is our reference point. For many whites the starting point is 60 years ago when television started to open our eyes to the cruelty being perpetrated on blacks through segregation and physical harm. I vividly remember watching the national news on television with my Mom as she was crying as students were water hosed and beaten by policeman to prevent them from attending a segregated high school in Arkansas. While looking at the progress this country has made regarding racial equality and acceptance it is easy to arrive at a different conclusion if your s

How New Yorker's Feel About Stop and Frisk

Here is an interesting graphic relating to how New Yorkers' view of the Mayor and the Police as it is related to Stop and Frisk. The graphic below is from the New York Times .

Egypt: What Do We Do

It is not clear that cutting off aid will indeed save lives especially if it is replaced by Saudi Arabia. Beyond that there are contentions that thousands of lives have been saved as a result of Egypt's strong military. In difficult times it is best to fall back on core principles. We preach democracy. Demand control be released back to the Muslim Brotherhood, educate our country on the Muslim religion so the populous understands whether it is compatible with "Freedom For All" and require half the aid  be used for humanitarian reasons by giving it to the legitimate government instead of the military. The aid should be in the form of food and services.

China The U.S. and Other Super Powers

We are truly in a more competitive world. China is slowly moving towards a freer market and we are drifting in the other direction, becoming less free, more oligopolistic market. The United States is still the major power on the planet, however it is quickly evolving into a world of near equals when it comes to economic power and influence. Other regions are making their presence felt including Brazil, Russia, India and South Africa. The United States is accelerating its decline by surrendering its free market history to oligopolies that are destroying the system established some 237 years ago. The Right cheers "free markets" even as they continue to concentrate the power of the marketplace into the hands of a few organizations and individuals controlling these entities. The United States is having difficulty accepting the fact it no longer has unlimited resources and cannot afford to do anything it wants anyplace in the world. Al Qaeda can claim success with the attack

Rush Limbaugh And The News

Why are people less informed? Limbaugh Mania! That is what has changed. The first generation following Rush Limbaugh, Mark Levin and Glenn Beck have come of voting age. They look at these entertainers as bonafide newsman. A few days ago Piers Morgan was interviewing Rick Santorum and Mr. Santorum was complaining about the unfair advantage the Democrats had last election because the debate moderators were liberally biased news anchors. He went on to say that would be the same for Republicans if the moderators were Limbaugh or Beck. He was comparing these entertainers to the likes of Jim Lehrer and Bob Schrieffer. People tend to get their "news" from sources that are biased in the direction of their own beliefs. The problem is many on the right get their information from entertainers and not newsmen. Not only has many people accepted these entertainers as news anchors many have adopted their style of debate and discussion. A case in point is an individual that I use to i

Islam

In a democracy it is difficult to take action when a nation's citizens do not understand the issue. This is the case in America with the economy and the middle east.  The economy is a complicated social science and unlike natural science there are not proven laws to follow. With the middle east, the average U.S. Citizen does not understand Islam. Some believe it is a peaceful religion and others believe that part of the teaching of Islam is "kill the infidel". To help solve the problem in the Middle East we must first understand what we are trying to solve.

Kevin Orr And The Hen House

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In a municipal bankruptcy where there is no Emergency Manager running the city it would be up to the Mayor and city Council to decide who to hire to handle the bankruptcy including the attorney and any outside consultants. In the case of Detroit there effectively is a consultant, Emergency Manager, who is making all of the decisions including the hiring of attorneys and consultants. This is analogous to having a fox guard the hen house. For the sake of good internal control and trust of the public, someone other than Kevin Orr should be reviewing, and in some cases overseeing, the attorneys and consultants being hired by the city. Lord Acton, the British historian, said in 1887; "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men."

Fannie and Freddie.

The programs offered through Fannie and Freddie did well over almost forty years and the total benefits far outweighed the collapse in the last decade.  The President needs to step forward with his plan and not wait for the legislature to develop one. This has been a mistake throughout his presidency. He removes himself from a leadership position. The two lending agencies should only be in business of insuring loans and not holding the actual asset. The ability to hold mortgages caused theses companies to play the dangerous game of betting on the movement of interest rates. When this game is played greed sets in and that is when mistakes are made. In the nineties their reserve requirements were reduced and that was a mistake. When the programs are started again the underwriting standards need to be stronger than they were at the time of failing.  Prior to the collapse both organizations loosened their requirements too far. Fannie and Freddie need to revert back to the FHA

Duggan Or Napoleon

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The new Mayor must be someone you can trust what he says is what he means. The next Mayor will need a passion for the city and be relentless in pursuit of what is in the best interest of the city and its citizens. He must have no hidden agendas and not be obliged to anyone above what is right for the city. The new Mayor recognizes sometimes he will fail but he gets back up and fights to always move forward. Below are some suggested objectives that should be considered and there may be others. The city requires someone who has a vision of  what he wants the city to be like in 20 years and the vision must be consistent with that of the majority of citizens. He must be razor focused to attain these objectives. The new Mayor must have the ability to identify the obstacles that need to be overcome and the opportunities that the city must capitalize on to achieve its objectives.  This new Mayor must have the ability to  marshal  the assets, both human and other, to achieve the objectives