Life is a Mystery

6 March 2009 . Comments Off on Reality check

Reality check

Lest we take popularity too much to heart… we’ve been here before and we should remember it is a very long road ahead.

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5 March 2009 . Comments Off on ThruYOU without you

ThruYOU without you

A big hit I’ve missed until now is Kutiman’s ThruYOU mix of YouTube videos. It is an amazing demonstration of what a huge supply of media can make possible, a whole set of songs mixed from nothing beyond YouTube videos.

Though he gives full credit to the videos he uses in his mixes, I don’t have any sense that he asked permission of the original creators. He has created something new, this is our culture of the network. Collaborators who don’t even know they are collaborating! Ask yourself, would a young singer in her living room keep her voice off YouTube after seeing the way Kutiman used this wonderful singer?

In fact, I would have never known Sarah Amstutz existed without ThruYOU. But Kutiman’s credits led me to her original version of this song and from there to some of the other great music Sarah is writing. Watch for her, I think she’ll be much more well known soon.

What a wonderful journey this standing on the shoulders of everyone makes. Here’s to hoping we never become so wise we outlaw creativity!

5 March 2009 . Comments Off on Feel the love

Feel the love

Where the Bush Administration set out to demoralize and destroy, the Obama Administration is hard at work encouraging and building. I believe the real goal of Cheney and the Bush gang was to destroy the federal government. Everything from the mess at Justice to the hiring of mercenary soldiers makes sense in this framework. They really wanted the government to be so dysfunctional that no future administration could effectively subordinate “business” power in the future. Business first. Government out of the way.

Today the Christian Science Monitor covers the excitement of workers in federal agencies about the visits Michelle Obama is making as she settles into Washington. It seems some are surprised that Michelle is experiencing such a positive reception. I am not surprised at all, having heard Michelle a couple times myself. I know what she is giving them: Love. Mom-in-chief indeed. Michelle is telling them that the work they do is critical, that their president appreciates their dedication, that the change ahead includes a large dose of respect for what government, and these workers, can do. This crowd is so thirsty for affirmation, they are soaking it up and returning it tenfold. Look at the handsigns in this picture from the Monitor.

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Hand on heart, that’s a real pledge of allegiance for you. And the response, pure love. Know hope.

4 March 2009 . Comments Off on Credit crisis visualized

Credit crisis visualized

This video is a very good explanation of how the credit crisis came about if you put mortgages at ground zero. I highly recommend spending 10 minutes absorbing it.

But then I also recall that I don’t think mortgages are at ground zero of this crisis. I think it is much deeper than that, more related to wildly outsized consumer spending and debt, not just mortgage debt. Banks have been crazy to invest in consumer debt for way too long, and the government keeps celebrating the “consumer.” Even now. We have not learned our lesson yet, which is part of why I fear we have a while more to wallow in this trough.

3 March 2009 . Comments Off on Southwest

Southwest

Next week Southwest Airlines will start flying from the Twin Cities. That should stir things up a bit. And today 37 signals points out that part of how they succeed is by constraining themselves.

It offers flights only to select cities, no seating class distinctions, a simple pricing structure, a bare-bones frequent flier program, no meal service, etc.

Creativity from constraints. A theme of mine.

3 March 2009 . Comments Off on Step inside my world

Step inside my world

A love story told in photoshop and CAD. Touching, if you give it a few minutes.

(By way of notcot.)

3 March 2009 . Comments Off on Slip sliding away

Slip sliding away

Back in October I wondered if the Dow was not heading for 2,000. Today I see Louise Yamada has been saying something similar, even using a similar graph. But this chart gives me something else again to base the estimate on. (Click to enlarge…)

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In 1929 the market started a slide that eventually wiped out almost 90% of its value. 34 months after it started, the crash of 1929 left 10% of market value standing. If we began a similar slide in October of 2007, then we are on a course that would leave us with a Dow of 1,400, just 10% of it’s 14,000 high. My estimate of 2,000 starts looking generous. We’ll see.

2 March 2009 . Comments Off on Gearing up for a fight

Gearing up for a fight

Obama’s budget is far from a perfect document. But I love that it is setting a high bar and unafraid of a dustup with insurers. Take a look at how Obama is positioning himself for this fight:

I am afraid that the Obama plan for health care is way less than we need, perhaps even a move in the wrong direction. It focusses on “affordable coverage” rather than health care as a right. I fear that those providing the coverage, insurance companies, are themselves the problem. A plan which moves more people into their clutches is a move in the wrong direction. On the other hand, I think the Obama plan also calls for a government-based option, similar to the coverage provided to Congress, that would compete with private insurers. If this is part of the solution that comes out of the sausage grinder this year, then we will be moving in the right direction. Over time, that government plan will either edge out private plans or challenge them to change in ways that benefit us all.

In any case, it is good to see our president working for us and ready to take on the big bad wolf. We better all be ready to help, to push, to support this effort in every way we can.

2 March 2009 . Comments Off on Refrigerator

Refrigerator

Every once in a while Nathaniel or Alex will give me a piece of art. I love them all and wish I could find a place for everything on my walls. I’ve decided to add these to a Flickr set for these. If you are a Flickr friend, then take a look at the Refrigerator set.

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Eric Celeste / Saint Paul, Minnesota / 651.323.2009 / efc@clst.org