Sunday, December 09, 2007

Jane Jacobs quote

From an interview published in by Jim Kunstler

For Metropolis Magazine, March 2001


JHK: Well, it's possible that my proposition is a fallacy. But what if it’s not?

JJ: I basically don't think that the way we do things is that dependent on one resource, such as oil. There can be different kinds of engines for cars. I think that solar heating, wind heating can substitute for a lot of uses for oil. I’d like to see those things happen because they are more sustainable in any case. But I do not think that running out of oil is not going to bother us that much. I think we have got to be rescued by something or we really are going down a slippery slope.

JHK: If its not petroleum then what is it that is putting us in peril?

JJ: I don’t think probably any one thing. Nothing is so clear in history that is it happens for any one thing. It seems that a lot of things come together to make great changes. And I think that one of the things is a reaction against Modernism in this case and everything associated with it

JHK: But we are stuck with all this stuff?

JJ: Yes now that’s the next thing. I do not think that we are to be saved by new developments done to New Urbanist principles. That’s all of the good and I am very glad that New Urbanists are educating America. I think that when this takes hold and when enough of the old regulations can be gotten out of the way—which is what is holding things up, that there is going to be some great period of infilling. And a lot of that will be make-shift and messy and it won’t measure up to New Urbanist ideas of design—but it will measure up to a lot of their other philosophy. And in fact if there isn’t a lot of this popular and make-shift infilling, the suburbs will never get corrected. It’s only going to happen that way. And I think that it will happen that way.

JHK: I have the greatest admiration for the New Urbanists. The hardest work for them to do is the urban infill.

JJ: But nobody is even thinking about now is the suburban infill.

JHK: Personally I think that a large percentage of the residential suburbs are going to be the slums of the future. Some of them will be rescued. Some of them won’t be. In your book The Cities and the Wealth of Nations you focused on quote "the master economic process called import replacement." The idea that a city and its region would only prosper if over time it started to furnish for itself many of the goods or services that it formerly imported. For instance, the rise of the U.S. as a great commercial nation in the late 19th century was a direct result of our cities starting to make the tools and machines and finished goods that we formerly got from Europe. With the latest model of the so-called global economy we are given to believe that import replacement is no longer significant. To the extraordinary degree that an overwhelming majority of the products sold in the U.S. are made elsewhere. Is this a dangerous situation?

JJ: (she chuckles) Well I think that it’s a more dangerous situation—the standardization of what is being produced or reproduced everywhere, where you can see it in the malls, in every city, the same chains, the same products are to be found. This goes even deeper with the trouble with import replacing because it means that new things are not being produced locally that can be improvements or anyway different. There is a sameness—this is one of the things that is boring people—this sameness. This sameness has economic implications. You don’t get new products and services out of sameness. Now the Americans haven’t gotten dumbed down all of the sudden so that only a few people who can decide on new products for change are the only ones with brains. But it means that somehow there isn’t opportunity for these thousands flowers to bloom anymore.

JHK: Well the million flowers are now blooming mostly in China. I don’t know about you—every product I pick up is made in China. I’m not against the Chinese. But it makes you wonder how long we go on having an advanced civilization without making anything anymore. Can we?

JJ: I don’t think so.

JHK: It seems to me that what we are doing is we are buying a lot of stuff from other people by basically running up tremendous unprecedented amounts of debt. That can only go on so long.

JJ: But you know we aren’t complete dolts in all of this. For example, we don’t manufacture our own computers. They are made mostly in Taiwan but they aren’t designed in Taiwan.

JHK: We hand them a set of blueprints and they make the stuff for them.

JJ: There are still an awful lot of intelligent, clever constructive Americans and they are still doing clever constructive things. Is it more necessary to be able to design computers or is more necessary to be able to manufacture computers. I think that it is necessary to do both. I think it is fatal to specialize. And all kinds of things show us that and that the more diverse we are in what we can do the better. But I don’t think that you can dispose of the constructive and inventive things that America is doing—and say oh we aren’t doing anything anymore and we are living off of what the poor Chinese do. It is more complicated than that. There is the example of Detroit which you noticed yourself was once a very prosperous and diverse city. And look what happened when it just specialized on automobiles. Look at Manchester when it specialized in those dark satanic mills, when it specialized in textiles. It was supposed to be the city of the future.

JHK: We have an awful lot of places in America that don’t specialize in anything anymore and don’t produce anything in particular anymore.

JJ: Well that’s better than specializing.

JHK: I am thinking about the region where I live which is a kind of a mini rust-belt of upstate New York—one town after another where the economy has completely vanished. There is no more Utica, New York, really. There is no more Amsterdam, New York, or Glen’s Falls or Hudson Falls. They are gone. And I am wondering, is the rest of America going to be like that.

JJ: Never underestimate the power of a city to regenerate.

Note: Years later, in a review of Garden Cities of Tomorrow in the New York Review of Books dated April 8, 1965, Mumford wrote:

". . . Jane Jacobs preposterous mass of historic misinformation and contemporary misinterpretation in her The Life and Death of Great American Cities exposed her ignorance of the whole planning movement."

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

The referendum of Hugo Chávez

These are clearly all examples of foreign policy analysis of the issue. What if the people of Venezuela just did want to relinquish so much power to Chavez? What if the referendum was a set up for the possible successor? What if Chavez used it to suggest to the outside world that he will regain power again in the future but wants the Venezuelan people a space to develop its democratic culture.

I see the referendum's results as a positive outgrowth of democratic processes in Latin America. One that shows true strength for their future.

Comments to today's Miami Herald "Chávez's image, international ambitions take a blow"

Sunday, December 02, 2007

"I Have a Dream" Speech

Martin Luther King, Jr.'s
"I Have a Dream" Speech

Aug. 28, 1963

am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation. Martin Luther King, Jr., delivering his 'I Have a Dream' speech from the steps of Lincoln Memorial. (photo: National Park Service)

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.

But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. So we have come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.

In a sense we have come to our nation's capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked "insufficient funds." But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. So we have come to cash this check — a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice. We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quick sands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children.

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro's legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.

We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. They have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.

As we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, "When will you be satisfied?" We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied, as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro's basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their selfhood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating "For Whites Only". We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.

Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair.

I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal."

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; one day right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.

This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

This will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with a new meaning, "My country, 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim's pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring."

And if America is to be a great nation this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!

Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado!

Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California!

But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia!

Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee!

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Creative Class Reading Recommendation

Here is a reading recommendation that, if applied correctly, would put ideas of grassroots funding on its head! Placed on my Local Economic Development class syllabus, "The Rise of the Creative Class" by Richard Florida is quite a spectacular way to think of the “New Economy”.

Florida is a professor at George Mason and pulls data to form the emerging creative professionals. This includes "people in science and engineering, architecture and design, education, arts, music and entertainment whose economic function is to create new ideas, new technology and/or new creative content. " Then he says they share a class, like the working class of the 1950s or the service class of the 1990s. He argues that both geography and non-traditional forms of social capital are important elements for this group to grow.

Basically he describes a new way to dissect today’s economy and provides evidence of how its effects social and cultural modalities. Of prominent importance is the venture capital, which stimulates this class to create new ideas. This is where grassroots funding is crucial.

Just thinking of new ways in which to modernize a society/provide economic development is by funding new creative ideas. I’m sure you can find this book on or at Barnes and Nobles. The book caught me off guard as a way to think about local economic development.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Reduced to the Small Screen--A comment

Commentary to the Washington Post piece published 11/11/07 called

Reduced to the Small Screen

By DeNeen L. Brown and Darryl Fears -
Great article; it was well-balanced and very descriptive/ substantiated. While I agree with many of the points in the piece, I disagree with the premises. People develop their perceptions not by what they watch in the public sphere, but rather their interactions with others in the private sphere. Personal interaction with your neighbors and colleagues, will define how you treat the subject of racism.

Most of the time, I think people (and specifically this comment is directed to white people) are just trying to get ahead in life and don't think about their race as an attribute or a deterrent factor. If there should be a debate in the public sphere, we should always label our race to who is “speaking in the media”. Why are white people not as predominately identified in the press as blacks, Hindu or Hispanics?

Keep up the great journalism.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Gov't Fear

"People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people."

--I am not sure who wrote/said this....

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Entre Rios--Si Hoy

' SI HOY '

Si hoy tal vez te sigo
con la misma anciedad que ayer,
es mejor, no sé,
despedirme de la propia mirada de mi
verso aquél.

Así todos los días
me dejarás de ayer,
que hoy no dirás: 'estoy extraño entre las paredes',
mi cielo de contraluz.

Destrozado ir dentro
de este lado que no rosa,
acostado donde cantan las espinas que ahora duelen.
Así todos los días,
me dejarás de ayer.

English Version

If today, perhaps I follow you with the same desire as yesterday, it is better, I do not know, to dismiss my own cautious look, from my own verses. Thus every day you will leave me
from yesterday, so that today you will not say: ' I am strange between walls', my sky of backlighting. Destroyed within for the side that doesn't blossom, laid down where they sing the thorns now hurt. Thus every day, you will leave me from yesterday.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Miami Herald Decentralization in LAC

Argentina: Governors elected since 1912 and mayors since the 1950s, except during authoritarian periods. Both elected since 1983. Local governments have strong powers.

Bolivia: Governors first elected in 2005, mayors since 1985. Governors are fighting with President Evo Morales over spending authority.

Brazil: Governors directly elected since 1982, mayors since 1946 except in large cities during authoritarian government 1964-85. Local governments have strong taxing and spending authority.

Chile: Mayors elected since 1992. Regional governments are weak, while municipal governments have gained greater autonomy. But subnational share of total spending remains low.

Colombia: State and local governments have much autonomy over social and economic policies. Mayors elected after 1989 and governors after 1990.

Mexico: Local governments have strong powers.

Peru: Governors first elected in 2002.

Uruguay: Fiscal decentralization for municipalities began in 1985.

Venezuela: Governors first elected in 1989, with growing fiscal and policy powers. Chávez has been recentralizing power since taking office in 1999.

Source: Alfred Montero of Carleton College

Monday, October 15, 2007

the decline of the state

The decline of the state, underway since the close of the Cold War, paired with the rise of participatory democracies and escalation of free-market policies, have created a world climate of exceptional encouragement for human initiative.

According to the Johns Hopkins Comparative Nonprofit Sector Project, "the nonproft sector outpaced the overall growth of employment [in the overall economy of the countries studied] by nearly 2.5 to 1... Even this does not capture the full scope of the nonprofit sector, for this sector also attracts a considerable amount of volunteer effort. Indeed, an average of 28 percent of the population in these countries contribute their time to nonprofit organizations."

In a December 1999 article in The Economist, the rapid growth of the citizen sector was expressed through the exponential rise of non-governmental organizations (NGOs). The article reports that "One conservative yardstick of international NGOs (that is, groups with operations in more than one country) is the Yearbook of International Organisations. This puts the number of international NGOs at more than 26,000 today, up from 6,000 in 1990. Far more groups exists within national borders." The Economist went on a recent article by World Watch, the bimonthly magazine of World Watch Institute (itself an NGO), which "suggested that the United States alone has about 2m NGOs, 70 percent of which are less than 30 years old. India has about 1m grass-roots groups, while another conservative estimate suggests that more than 100,000 sprang up in Eastern Europe between 1988 and 1995."

Saturday, September 29, 2007

If men were angels...

Madison is cited for saying the following:

If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: You must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place, oblige it to control itself. - Page 36 in

The Transformation of Governance: Public Administration for Twenty-First ...

By Donald F. Kettl

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Slip Away

What would I give for just a few moments
What would I give just to have you near
Tell me you would try to slip away somehow
Oh I need you darling I want to see you right now
Can you slip away, slip away
Slip away, oh I need you so
Oh love oh love, how sweet it is
When you still involve it
Let me tell you how sweet it is
Now I know it's wrong,
The things I ask you to do
But please believe me darling
I don't mean to hurt you
But can you slip away
Without him knowin you're gone
Baby we could meet somewhere,
Somewhere we both are not known
Can you slip away, slip away,
Slip away-ay-ay-ay I need you so
Oh can you slip away baby
I'd like to see you right now darling
Can you slip away baby
Cause I got to, got to see you
I feel a deep burning inside
Oh I wish you could slip away...

by Clarence Carter

Friday, September 07, 2007

the wind....

Cat Stevens - The Wind Lyrics

I listen to the wind
To the wind of my soul
Where I'll end up well I think,
Only God really knows
I've sat upon the setting sun
But never, never never never
I never wanted water once
No, never, never, never

I listen to my words but
They fall far below
I let my music take me where
My heart wants to go
I swam upon the devil's lake
But never, never never never
I'll never make the same mistake
No, never, never, never

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

tu boca es mia...

En la Habana quien ya no conoce
a un magnífico bailarín
anda siempre muy bien vestidito
que parece un maniqui
todos lo conocen por Panchito
por que baila el cha cha cha

Es la Boa
Es la Boa
Es la Boa
Es la Boa

Mi corazón es para tí
Mi corazón es para tí
Mi corazón es para ti
Mi corazón es para tí

Three Guineas

Virginia Woolf wrote Three Guineas in 1938. Her essay explores philanthropic choice and develops a theory of social change based on investing in women and girls.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village, though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

Robert Frost

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Hay Dias de Benedetti

Hay días en que siento una desganade mí, de ti, de todo lo que insiste en creersey me hallo solidariamente cretinoapto para que en mí vacilen los rencoresy nada me parezca un aceptable augurio.

Días en que abro el diario con el corazón en la bocacomo si aguardara de veras que mi nombrefuera a aparecer en los avisos fúnebresseguido de la nómina de parientes y amigosy de todo indócil personal a mis órdenes.

Hay días que ni siquiera son oscurosdías en que pierdo el rastro de mi penay resuelvo las palabras cruzadascon una rabia hecha para otra ocasióndigamos, por ejemplo, para noches de insomnio.

Días en que uno sabe que hace mucho era buenobah tal vez no hace tanto que salía la lunalimpia como después de jabón perfumadoy aquello si era auténtica melancolíay no este malsano, dulce aburrimiento.

Bueno, esta balada sólo es para avisarteque en esos pocos días no me tomes en cuenta.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

A quote for Belle Case La Follette

Belle Case La Follette, cited "probably the least known yet most influential of all the American women who had to do with public affairs in this country" by the New York Times.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

The World System of Locally Driven Politics

As I jumped out of the shower and was toweling off one morning last week, an epiphany came to me: I realized DC isn’t where the action is. After living in Washington for six years, I have met some of the most amazing, inspiring, life-changing individuals who desire the best for the US government and the world. Diehard liberals, hardworking bureaucrats and deep pocketed conservatives are my neighbors who live doors down in the two by two mile radius of our nation’s capital. Yet, it’s not just those amazing bright individuals who will change the world, but instead the average American Bob, John and Barbara who will ultimately make the difference.

DC reflects some of the greatest paradoxes of our global village. While its population is diverse—the policies that come from it are not. Washington hosts extremely impoverish inter-city bums, ambassadors from around the world, veterans, the rich American elite, recent immigrants from El Salvador and Ethiopia and an active contingent of vocal gay and transsexual individuals. Yet, the US government’s policies on welfare, gay rights, economic development or social security do not necessarily reflect this diverse population. Rather, policies must be approved by the impassive US population.

What is more grueling? The US population comprising less than ten percent of the entire world population makes policies that affect the rest of the world. This was certainly notably when millions of anxious world citizens glued their eyes to CNN International to hear the precious results of the US presidential races in 2000 and 2004. More and more the world sees the US as a global leader in politics and policies. Yet the US population, in its majority do not care what Washington says or does. They hardly even come out to vote every four years. There is not a more important job than to keep the US government transparent and honest at these vital times. Internet may reach these people, but most importantly, the discussion must be set in a basic language that is understandable by all in order to make a difference. Only listening to this multitude of voices and discussions will change the world.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Institional Economics on People's Choices

In Structure and Change in Economic History (1981) I abandoned the notion that institutions were efficient and attempted to explain why "inefficient" rules would tend to exist and be perpetuated. This was tied to a very simple and still neo-classical theory of the state which could explain why the state could produce rules that did not encourage economic growth. I was still dissatisfied with our understanding of the political process, and indeed searched for colleagues who were interested in developing political-economic models. This led me to leave the University of Washington in 1983 after being there for 33 years, and to move to Washington University in St. Louis, where there was an exciting group of young political scientists and economists who were attempting to develop new models of political economy. This proved to be a felicitous move. I created the Center in Political Economy, which continues to be a creative research center.

The development of a political-economic framework to explore long-run institutional change occupied me during all of the 1980s and led to the publication of Institutions, Institutional Change and Economic Performance in 1990. In that book I began to puzzle seriously about the rationality postulate. It is clear that we had to have an explanation for why people make the choices they do; why ideologies such as communism or Muslim fundamentalism can shape the choices people make and direct the way economies evolve through long periods of time. One simply cannot get at ideologies without digging deeply into cognitive science in attempting to understand the way in which the mind acquires learning and makes choices. Since 1990, my research has been directed toward dealing with this issue. I still have a long way to go, but I believe that an understanding of how people make choices; under what conditions the rationality postulate is a useful tool; and how individuals make choices under conditions of uncertainty and ambiguity are fundamental questions that we must address in order to make further progress in the social sciences.

by Douglass North

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Decision making

Do individuals make decisions in institutions?
How do grassroots organization arrange to make better decisions?
Are they influenced by external forces (funds)?

Decision making
1. anthropological role of participation
2. organizational theory and group theory
3. institutionalized economics exchange/information asymmetries
4. social political power relationships
5. geography, political and historical influences

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Quotes on Love for VD

Stendhal was onto something in the 19th century when he observed that "The pleasures of love are always in proportion to our fears," because passionate love is also partly about terror.

Bill Shakespeare had it down cold, when he had Friar Laurence warn young Romeo of the perils of passion: "These violent delights have violent ends."

Wednesday, February 07, 2007


"Planning is the pretentious effort to shape human events with deliberate concern about the future. It is an attempt to impose a rationality of choices upon the turbulent sea of human activities."

Friday, February 02, 2007

Fresh food in Schools

Farm-to-school purchasing

FTS programs refer to school food purchasing programs that emphasize bringing fresh, regionally sourced foods onto school menus. The programs enhance markets for local farmers and improve the nutritional quality of school meals. They also often incorporate educational programming to increase student understanding of the food sources and the importance of proper nutrition.

Both the nutritional and the educational components of FTS are seen as strategies to combat obesity in the schools. This is especially important since schools receiving federal lunch program assistance are now mandated to develop local wellness policies promoting nutrition, physical activity, and overweight prevention in compliance with the federal Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act of 2004.

CREC sees farm-to-school programs as one potential school-based approach to help combat obesity. Schafft has been working with two other Penn State researchers—Jessica Bagdonis, graduate student in Agricultural Extension Education, and Clare Hinrichs, associate professor of rural sociology—to examine the opportunities and barriers for schools to implement FTS programs.

To determine the effect of location on farm-to-school efforts, this past year the researchers conducted a comparison study, interviewing 30 stakeholders connected to two Pennsylvania FTS programs—one rural and one urban. The urban group saw school children and their parents as the primary beneficiaries of the program, by virtue of more healthful food options along with the reinforcing nutrition education. Rural stakeholders were more likely to view FTS programming as a community-based effort. The rural group cited extended community-level benefits, including preservation of the agricultural landscape and improved local economies.

At both the urban and rural sites, local food consistency, seasonal availability, cost, and time concerns were identified as barriers to FTS implementation.

Schafft and Hinrich have just received a grant from The Center for Rural Pennsylvania to continue and extend their study of farm-to-school programming through a statewide survey of school district food managers and further case studies. This work will be taking place in 2007 and should result in a state-based guide for schools interested in incorporating farm-to-school programming in their food purchasing and curricular decision-making.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007


I have a random and off the wall sort of question. Rather appropriate if you have time on your hands to relax and think. How does one define elitism? Or decide what is of suburb excellence. Who makes that distinction and when is it truly relevant or just a farce to another ones mind? I ask you this because I believe you also look at these sorts of issues and questions. I see them as a sort of societal criticism.

Who or what defines what is pure and correct over another’s work? Today, I would believe the deciding factor for publications is peer review but most often time’s individuals in a set class set the bar for something to be adequate or of their quality or standard. How is an authentic idea born, produced, and publicized?

Another idea is it that an idea comes from an expert, but who is an expert in an anything today? If not, there are many amateur with specialize experience in many particular hobby.

What is your impression on the subject?

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