Friday, November 07, 2008

Euphoria

We Won, We All Win! Obama is President Elect. The world in rejoicing. In Kenya a public holiday was declared in our country in honor of Obama's victory. What American did is an attestation of what true democracy is. America now has moral authority to teach the rest of the world the ideals of democracy. These are amazing times to live and be alive.

Euphoria!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Latin American Policy Questions for Debate

At a recent event at Florida International University, the following questions were asked to the top advisors of the John McCain and Barack Obama's foreign policy advisors for Latin America.

1. On a recent visit to Miami at a hurricane benefit, President Preval appealed to audiences requesting TPS status for Haitians during the recovery period. At what point during the Obama administration would you consider approving this measure for the poorest country in the hemisphere?

2. After much deliberation regarding Colombia’s free trade agreement during the campaign, what exactly was included in the agreement with Peru that was deemed “okay” and approved by the democrats and why hasn’t this been mentioned during the campaign?

3. Some polls estimate that public security is the most important of a factor to hinder the Americas’ wavering democracy, what will a Obama administration do to help not only US Americans feel safer while traveling but also help Latin American’s feel safer in their own cities?

4. During the current Bush Administration, USAID funded a reality TV show of gang members in Central America; do you feel this is an appropriate use of US taxpayer funds, why or why not?

5. The upcoming Summit of the Americas will be held in April for the first time in the Caribbean with the theme of sustainability, how would you personally make the event more successful than Mar del Plata (or previous ones)? What specific policies and or event would you like to implement at the event? Under a Obama administration, how will you make sure the OAS Summit Follow-up agreements are treated?

6. Urban planning is a major issue for many cities throughout the Americas, what could a Obama administration do to help alleviate traffic, improve decrepit infrastructure and make parks safe for children to play in?

7. As you may know, Latin Americans of African descendent comprise of nearly 30 percent of the Hemisphere’s population and nearly all of them are poor. What can a Obama administration do to assist Afro Latinos?

8. There is investment capital missing in Latin America, not just for small-micro businesses, but also for “Jose the Plumber” shops making $US 250,000 dollars a year. What can the US government do to assist to provide this type of capital to middle and larger-size small business to grow in Latin America?

9. Mohammed Yunus won a Nobel peace prize in 2006 for developing a micro-credit model for women of Bangladesh. Latin America has been implementing micro-credit funds for years. Some countries have state run micro credit and other markets have saturated loans and thus provide “donations” not loans to the poor. Do you believe in regulating the Grameen Bank model for micro-credit of Latin America?

10. In several of the recent debates both John McCain and Barack Obama mentioned they would use a scalpel to cut earmark spending. Much of this funding goes to develop programs at Universities, which create jobs and student fellowships. How could some of these new cuts affect Latin American programs at public institutions like FIU?

11. Two weeks ago when the dow dropped over 700 points, creating the value of the dolor to drop, many Argentines ran in massive droves to the banks to withdraw their money forming long lines and shutting down the city. What would you tell people in Latin America as the US economy is falling to do with their financial resources?

12. The gang and drug related violence in Mexico has surged since Felipe Calderon took office, most recently a young American boy under the age of 10 was kidnapped and it is suspected that his grandfather was part of a Mexican drug cartel. At what point do you think the American people will come to the rescue and help Mexico with this invasive problem of crime and drugs? What would an Obama/McCain Administration do to alleviate the problem, beyond the Merida Initiative?

13. With the US economy in a recession, many Central American immigrants living in the United States are unable to find suitable jobs; many of them are primarily responsible for sending money home to sustain their families. What could an Obama/McCain Administration do to encourage these illegal immigrants to go back home and also aid their economies to entice them back?

14. What would be the spending priorities for USAID programs in Latin America under an Obama/McCain administration?

15. Environmental degradation in the Americas is – as in most parts of the world – a serious concern that affects how priorities would be set in terms of economic development and social policies. How do you envision an Obama/McCain administration supporting environmental protection in the Americas? What would be your priorities?

16. Many people in the Americas believe that the US has turned its back on the hemisphere, how would an Obama/McCain administration try to change this view? What would be the first Latin American countries Obama/McCain would visit and why?

17. The Bush Administration set up the Millennium Challenge Corporation, which is currently working in Honduras, Nicaragua, Paraguay, El Salvador, Guyana and Peru. There are several pockets of poverty in other countries, what will the Obama/McCain presidencies do to assist these countries needs when their governments are corrupt?

18. The Merida Initiative approved in May authorized $1.1 billion for Mexico over three years to help fight crime, but the current Administration of Felipe Calderon in Mexico, requested an additional $450 million budget as part of the 2009. Would the new administration continue to promote such a program or would it re-direct the funding to other programs?

19. In September 2006, Congress approved the Secure Fence Act of 2006 (P.L. 109-367) to authorize the construction of a border fence and other parries along 700 miles of the US-Mexico Border.” New private citizen organizations to patrol the border have been formed. Would the new administration continue to fund the construction of the wall? Would it encourage private citizen to patrol the border?

20. It is common knowledge that the US has stronger environmental protection regulations than Latin America. Examples of these regulations include the protection of dolphins during tuna hunting, dumping regulations, and food and drug regulations for products such as sweeteners. How will you protect US industries that follow regulations (in the process raising the cost of production) when competing with Latin American imports that are produced at lower cost because they do not follow the regulations and safety codes during production?

21. Recently Paul Krugman was awarded a Nobel Prize for his work in Economics, explaining why developed countries trade with other developed countries. One of the implications is that there might be a hidden net benefit for developed economies to trade with other developed countries vs. underdeveloped nations. With this in mind will the new administration encourage or fund infrastructure projects, such as the building of public roads, water systems, etc. and education programs in an attempt to increase the benefits we gain by trading Mexico through NAFTA?

Friday, October 10, 2008

Grassroots “Opportunity Zones” for Economic Revitalization???



Take a look at my policy recommendations for the US. Do they also fit into other municipal locations in other countries? Why and why not?


Why not revitalize the HUD’s Renewal community program by providing block grants and technical assistance directly to Community Development Corporations (CDCs) for commercial activities and job-training programs? Such a policy will strengthen your grassroots political efforts by bring more financial services to the communities in-need. It will not only create a market-place effort for American communities to compete for federal financing (requiring private sector support for legitimacy and efficiency) but it will also provide direct technical assistance to strengthen the at-risk economy. Currently HUD’s Renewal community program is seeking congressional commitment for the third round of support. The CDBG, hosted separately, needs further revitalization for assisting American cities where the highest percentage of our poor resides. Your campaign could assist to strengthen America’s most prevailing community based programs CDC’s to perform better—by engaging citizens, assisting the poor and promoting economic development through urban revitalization. By transferring this public program to direct beneficiaries, instead of the government bureaucracies, this policy could make CDCs already successful role in development even stronger.


Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Minnesotans’ Economic Reality

This year's campaign season is all about the economy. As former Bill Clinton said, "It's all about the Economy, Stupid!" It is clear in my mind that Senator Barack Obama is better at the economy than his opponent. A graduate of Colombia University's international economics program and a law degree from Harvard University, Minnesotan's should recognize that Sen. Obama has what it takes to understand intrinsically complex issues like our economy.

First and foremost, Sen. Obama will NOT raise taxes for anyone making less than $250,000 a year. He will end tax breaks for companies that send jobs overseas. Obama promises to create a new “Making Work Pay” tax credit of up to $500 per person, or $1,000 per working family. He will encourage working families to afford college for their children by providing tax credits for tuition payments. Sen. Obama understands what many Minnesotans’ reality with the State’s shrinking budget, the lack of economic development and the overwhelming poverty in the rural areas.

Kids, like me, grow up knowing their parents have to pay fuel and electric bills over the cold winters before they can buy food for the family. Beginning each month, discount shopping centers are bustling because welfare checks have just been sent out. To underscore the economic conditions near Bemidji and in the North Country, just a few years ago, over 1,000 people applied for 300 minimal wage jobs when Wal-Mart opened its first store in the area. The 40 percent poverty rate is higher than in some developing nations.

Born in Bemidji, I am currently a graduate student at Florida International University in Miami, Fla. I recently began the doctoral program after spending eight years in Washington, DC working for the Federal government. I feel that Senator Barack Obama knows our issues and is able to Help American Workers Compete in the Global Economy. Sen. Obama will fight for a trade policy that opens up foreign markets to support American jobs. He will make long-term investments in education, training, and workforce development and use trade agreements to spread good labor and environmental standards. This is precisely what my future dissertation will be about. Please join me, and vote for Senator Obama this November 4.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Barack Obama’s Latin American Policy Experience

While Senator Obama is reviewing policy plans and preparing potential jabs at Senator McCain, staying of course at the lovely Belleview Biltmore golf and spa resort in Clearwater, Fla, I ponder to think what does the Latin American community think of this junior senator? And what do they really know about his Latin American platform?

South Florida received a bit of Sen. Obama’s flavor when he presented at the Cuban-American Foundation back on the week of Cuban Independence day on May 20. At that time, the mainstream Cuban-American community charged that Obama presents bland open promises of “change” without any substance, making them reminiscent of Castro’s insurgency in the mountains of Cienfuegos. A scary thought even in the post-cold war world of potential Islamic terrorism.

Even worse, this still does not consider that most Latinos are racists. Many Latinos would not consider Sen. Obama, even with his academic accolades and national achievements, simply because of—indicated by touching an index finger to their wrist—his color. The historical tradition of Latin American social hierarchy was through extraction—encouraged people to open their hand to social classes ahead of the ladder while squashing and withdrawing from those below—was, so often enough, predicated by color. But are Latin Americans really racists and do they really fear a new global crisis with Sen Obama?

Besides, without a clear look at Sen. Obama policies will this ignorance continue?

Honestly, the Democrats winning the White House could help Latin America and its current political and economic condition. Although with some gaps, Obama would like to return America’s leadership in the Hemisphere. He wants to employ American immigrants to US public diplomacy, expand the Peace Corps to Kennedy’s desire of 50,000, and re-establish US special envoy of the Americas in the White House.

Sen. Obama shares favorable democratic and social policies with moderate socialists governments of Michele Bachelet, Fernando Lugo and Tabare Vazquez. Which together, they could help sway politically difficult issues in multilateral organizations like the Inter-American Development Bank and the Organization of American States to help America fight and promote democracy against the Latin America’s “axis of evil” Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro and other supposed foe. Appealing rationality to extremist with more friends could help the region. Engagement can only combat fear.

What's more, it is undisputable that Sen. Obama has superior experience in combating gang warfare and maintain high-quality security, which is a major issue currently effecting Central America and Mexico. A historic obstacle on the South Chicago, where Sen. Obama has experience to promote peace through civic engagement and faith based assistance. Possibly, this real experience might not help him win some votes, but it could provide endless use in the fight against the MARA and the Salvatrucha.

Finally, Sen Obama will promote more foreign assistance, engage the United Nations to eliminate the global education deficit, lead the world in the fight against the HIV aids epidemic, support small and medium enterprises, fight for more fair trade, while obeying human rights and labor standers, just to name a few ideas on the campaign. In conclusion, shouldn’t Latin’s reconsider Mr. Obama’s skin color, since it could help to put them in the oval office one day?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Times Advice on LOVE

The New York Times
Printer Friendly Format Sponsored By

July 13, 2008
Everybody’s Business
Lessons in Love, by Way of Economics
By BEN STEIN

AS my fine professor of economics at Columbia, C. Lowell Harriss (who just celebrated his 96th birthday) used to tell us, economics is the study of the allocation of scarce goods and services. What could be scarcer or more precious than love? It is rare, hard to come by and often fragile.

My primary life study has been about love. Second comes economics, so here, in the form of a few rules, is a little amalgam of the two fields: the economics of love. (I last wrote about this subject 20 years or so ago, and it’s time to update it.)

In general, and with rare exceptions, the returns in love situations are roughly proportional to the amount of time and devotion invested. The amount of love you get from an investment in love is correlated, if only roughly, to the amount of yourself you invest in the relationship.

If you invest caring, patience and unselfishness, you get those things back. (This assumes, of course, that you are having a relationship with someone who loves you, and not a one-sided love affair with someone who isn’t interested.)

High-quality bonds consistently yield more return than junk, and so it is with high-quality love. As for the returns on bonds, I know that my comment will come as a surprise to people who have been brainwashed into thinking that junk bonds are free money. They aren’t. The data from the maven of bond research, W. Braddock Hickman, shows that junk debt outperforms high quality only in rare situations, because of the default risk.

In love, the data is even clearer. Stay with high-quality human beings. And once you find that you are in a junk relationship, sell immediately. Junk situations can look appealing and seductive, but junk is junk. Be wary of it unless you control the market.

(Or, as I like to tell college students, the absolutely surest way to ruin your life is to have a relationship with someone with many serious problems, and to think that you can change this person.)

Research pays off. The most appealing and seductive (that word again) exterior can hide the most danger and chance of loss. For most of us, diversification in love, at least beyond a very small number, is impossible, so it’s necessary to do a lot of research on the choice you make. It is a rare man or woman who can resist the outward and the surface. But exteriors can hide far too much.

In every long-term romantic situation, returns are greater when there is a monopoly. If you have to share your love with others, if you have to compete even after a brief while with others, forget the whole thing. You want to have monopoly bonds with your long-term lover. At least most situations work out better this way. ( I am too old to consider short-term romantic events. Those were my life when Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon were in the White House.)

The returns on your investment should at least equal the cost of the investment. If you are getting less back than you put in over a considerable period of time, back off.

Long-term investment pays off. The impatient day player will fare poorly without inside information or market-controlling power. He or she will have a few good days but years of agony in the world of love.

To coin a phrase: Fall in love in haste, repent at leisure.

Realistic expectations are everything. If you have unrealistic expectations, they will rarely be met. If you think that you can go from nowhere to having someone wonderful in love with you, you are probably wrong.

You need expectations that match reality before you can make some progress. There may be exceptions, but they are rare.

When you have a winner, stick with your winner. Whether in love or in the stock market, winners are to be prized.

Have a dog or many dogs or cats in your life. These are your anchors to windward and your unfailing source of love.

Ben Franklin summed it up well. In times of stress, the three best things to have are an old dog, an old wife and ready money. How right he was.

THERE is more that could be said about the economics of love, but these thoughts may divert you while you are thinking about your future.

And let me close with another thought. I am far from glib about the economy. It has a lot of pitfalls facing it. As workers and investors, we know that many dangers lurk in our paths.

But so far, these things have always worked themselves out and this one will, too. In the meantime, they say that falling in love is wonderful, and that the best is falling in love with what you have.

Ben Stein is a lawyer, writer, actor and economist. E-mail: ebiz@nytimes.com.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Are all Women the Same?

Can we please, PLEASE disaggregated women here! Not all ladies are the same and they will not vote the same. Its a bit much to just survey "women" to be in the same voting block. There are white women, black women, Hispanics and they live all over the country, with each sub region having various political views and ideas. Why don't the the pundits and the pollsters reconfigure that we are not one block of votes and that we have differing interests--just as Hilary received some of our support while not others. What's more this article didn't disaggregated issues like health care, the economy, education policy, foreign policy, etc. What is true, that most women should get behind and unite behind is discrimination like is this YouTube video:


On May 23, The Women's Media Center, along with their partners at Media Matters, launched, "Sexism Sells, But We're Not Buying It," a new video and online petition campaign illustrating the pervasive nature of sexism in the media's coverage. While Hillary Clinton's campaign cast a spotlight on the issue of sexism, this isn't a partisan issue: it's about making sure that woman's voices are present and powerful in our national dialogue.

Click here to watch the video and to read a statement about the video from WMC president Carol Jenkins.

The White House Project is deeply committed to this issue, and to this end, we are happy to be partnering with The Women's Media Center and the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education on a conference that will analyze how issues of age, race, class and gender have been treated in the media coverage of the 2008 election.



Comments on this Washington Post piece


McCain, Obama Reaching Out to Female Voters
Sen. John McCain and his aides have gone out of their way to praise Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton in recent days, and by the end of the week his most prominent female supporter, former Hewlett-Packard chief executive Carly Fiorina, will embark on a female-focused speaking tour in Ohio and...
-
By Juliet Eilperin

Monday, May 26, 2008

LAC Policy Ideas for Barak Obama

Barak Obama's position on Latin American policy, he described at the Cuban American national foundation in Miami, Florida, May 23, 2008, isn't exactly liberal.... but it is a moderate to liberal view, and well yes, educated. He suggests promoting current development agencies like AID, MCC, IDB but there really are too few details to his "plan" to grasp what he is suggesting. But what is encouraging (or maybe disbursing) is that he isn't all that far from what is going on now in terms of LAC policy. He mentions the hot button topics of Latin American policy, like the Merrida Plan, Cuban’s policy of non-engagement, Haiti’s development and construction, wile intergrading immigration and pro-Americanism into the speech. There should be a few new ideas that he could include like

1. promoting a technical corps instead of the peace corps for graduated countries;
2. meld policies of the IDB with the summit of the Americas commitments, by matching the declaration with loans done at the bank;
3. include subnational lending to sub-sovereign nation states as a new way to strengthen economic and financial systems in LAC;
4. help the Inter-American Foundation by increasing it's budget to provide grants for grassroots development;
5. add training for import and export within trade agreements ;
6. promote small business development through opening up the IFC's loans to Medium size business of less than an Million dollars a piece and
7. assist to regulate the microcredit market.


But these are just a few ideas.... I hope as the campaign goes on, we here more about his plan in further detail.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

LAC Policy is Not Just for Hispanics

As I was perusing the Web, I noticed that the Democratic Party has included Latin American Policy with the Hispanic section. Just because they are "Hispanic" doesn't mean that people are going to be interested in Latin American Policy and vice-versa. I thought the Barack Obama Campaign was not about putting people into stereotypical boxes, but opening the playing field. May be he hasn't rubbed off on the Democratic Committee as of yet. Too bad. Our forgiven policy, including LAC policy should be comprehensive and inclusive, not contriving and contrite. Let's work on this.....



Democrats.org has a post called "Bush's Failed Legacy: Latin America" that's worth checking out...





After promising that this would be the "Century of the Americas" during his 2000 presidential campaign, President Bush heads to Latin America today with a "weak hand" after years of turning his back on the region, years of broken promises, and years of failed policies.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Its still the Economy Stupid!

Dear Barack Obama,

I highly doubt you will read this, but hopefully one of your aides and campaign works will. What went wrong in Ohio, New York, and subsequently, Pennsylvania is that you need to hit home new economic solutions with low income workers. They care most about the economy, pardon me, "stupid". There needs to be a new policy suggestion to help the poor and downtrodden. That is what makes you a democrat and these people currently aren't seeing that. More effort needs to be given to these people directly. More than just changing healthcare, education and getting out of the war or appealing to their distrust in Bush. They are looking for a new approach for their economic blight. As much as I can see the booms in the 1990s was more attributed to new gadgets created by Microsoft and Apple than any industrial policy. I am a student in public administration in Miami, FL and I am interested in Local Economic Development. In the U.S. we have used the HUD's programs for engaging local communities but that is not enough. We need to refocus and launch a new attached on the less-fortunate communities and help them spur their economic competitiveness in the global economy.

Barack, you have not talked about this sufficiently. It can't be just that we will reassess NAFTA and CAFTA--that is okay but its not sufficient to really look at how to help the small towns build up. Why not engage these communities in the same grassroots efforts as your campaign and engage them to find pro-poor portable solutions to their economic problems. Their ingenuity in assessing the lack of concrete a industrial policy will make the difference. Below is what I proposed when I wanted to have dinner with you. Today, I am not so sure, I'd like to have dinner with you! You need to reach out and talk about the economy straight-on and reach out to the disenfranchised, who don't care about party unity nor, black white divides, but about their pocket books.

Now please, you are my hope to changing this around. Please focus on this section of the population that needs some solutions, especial now and into the future as these gas prices and foreclosures rates go up and up.


Grassroots “Opportunity Zones” for Economic Revitalization

Why not revitalize the HUD’s Renewal community program by providing block grants and technical assistance directly to Community Development Corporations (CDCs) for commercial activities and job-training programs? Such a policy will strengthen your grassroots political efforts by bring more financial services to the communities in-need. It will not only create a market-place effort for American communities to compete for federal financing (requiring private sector support for legitimacy and efficiency) but it will also provide direct technical assistance to strengthen the at-risk economy. Currently HUD’s Renewal community program is seeking congressional commitment for the third round of support. The CDBG, hosted separately, needs further revitalization for assisting American cities where the highest percentage of our poor resides. Your campaign could assist to strengthen America’s most prevailing community based programs CDC’s to perform better—by engaging citizens, assisting the poor and promoting economic development through urban revitalization. By transferring this public program to direct beneficiaries, instead of the government bureaucracies, this policy could make CDCs already successful role in development even stronger.

The ultimate result would be like a low-income housing tax credit but for commercial activity and job-training programs to speed-up local economies. Grassroots “Opportunity Zones” for Economic Revitalization is a similar policy I am working to execute in Latin America, the area of my expertise.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Hoy seguí de Entre Rios

Hoy seguí

Hoy seguí artificios
como el sol
creí que había tantas palabras gastadas
es natural

Despertar
sin descansar
despertar
sin descansar

Subí sabiendo
a sensación
soñé que decías las cosas de siempre
me equivoqué

Al despertar
sin descansar
al despertar
sin ver el sol

Natural
hoy seguí artificios
como el sol

Friday, April 11, 2008

ODI Think Nets Comment

What about the instigators and specialist? @ Thursday, April 10, 2008 3:27 PM

Your idea of think-nets is a cleaver one. But the idea of specialization will not disappear with the use of information technology. Hopefully, it will allow a more even playing field of idea sharing to be more dispersed, as you have outlined, but it will not be entirely eliminated. You forget there are people who spend their full lives analyzing one problem. The potential for him or her to receive new information more readily is conceivable but there will not be complete elimination of specialty analysts. Regardless, think tanks do rely on smart people who can synthesize information quickly, which is a talent not everyone has. Hopefully the Web will link more people together through the tools you propose. Furthermore, there has not been an elimination of new papers with the Web; rather the quality writing you expect from the media outlet has created a brand, if you will, for quality and assurance of valid information.

Monday, March 31, 2008

GRD Policy Suggestion....

Grassroots “Opportunity Zones” for Economic Revitalization

Why not revitalize the HUD’s Renewal community program by providing block grants and technical assistance directly to Community Development Corporations (CDCs) for commercial activities and job-training programs? Such a policy will strengthen your grassroots political efforts by bring more financial services to the communities in-need. It will not only create a market-place effort for American communities to compete for federal financing (requiring private sector support for legitimacy and efficiency) but it will also provide direct technical assistance to strengthen the at-risk economy. Currently HUD’s Renewal community program is seeking congressional commitment for the third round of support. The CDBG, hosted separately, needs further revitalization for assisting American cities where the highest percentage of our poor resides. Your campaign could assist to strengthen America’s most prevailing community based programs CDC’s to perform better—by engaging citizens, assisting the poor and promoting economic development through urban revitalization. By transferring this public program to direct beneficiaries, instead of the government bureaucracies, this policy could make CDCs already successful role in development even stronger.

The ultimate result would be like a low-income housing tax credit but for commercial activity and job-training programs to speed-up local economies. Grassroots “Opportunity Zones” for Economic Revitalization is a similar policy I am working to execute in Latin America, the area of my expertise.

Monday, March 03, 2008

A State taking on Economic Development

When talking about economic development, take a look at this web site: http://www.ncsu.edu/iei/

I just ran across it from an economic geographer's Web site. What I am reading more and more is about how local economies are relying on universities to understand how they work and provide incite, knowledge, technology and guidance through better education, research and ideas.

The Institute for Emerging Issues (IEI) is a think-and-do tank focused on tackling big issues that affect North Carolina's future growth and prosperity. From energy to fiscal modernization to improving our systems of higher education, IEI takes the lead in convening state leaders in business, higher education and government to address these issues early to prepare for future challenges and opportunities.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Current Research Interests

So as of late, I am trying to link what we call "development" in the US to international development. That is to say, what local governments do to promote growth in their communities, i.e. promote business ventures, encourage tax deductions and go to trade fairs, etc. I am arguing for further decentralization, suggesting that in Latin America (which is what I know most) that the process is incomplete because local governments in general don't collect their own revenues. They for the most part, allow for fiscal federalism, or this balance to receive finance for local projects from the national level. This makes the world much more corrupt because many national governments play partisan politics--or they favor spending to party strong-hold municipalities. This only continues the bad pork barrel politics that we know so well.

Anyone have comments on these topics?

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

The Mayonnaise Jar

From C. Soto


When things in your life seem
almost too much to handle,
when 24 Hours in a day is not enough,
remember the mayonnaise jar
and 2 cups of coffee.

A professor stood before his philosophy class
and had some items in front of him.
When the class began, wordlessly,
he picked up a very large
and empty mayonnaise jar
and proceeded to fill it with golf balls.

He then asked the students
if t he jar was full.
They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them
into the jar.
He shook the jar lightly.
The pebbles rolled into the open
areas between the golf balls.

He then asked
the students again
if th e jar was full..
They agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand
and poured it into the jar.
Of course, the sand filled up everything else
He asked once more if the jar was full.
The students responded
with an unanimous
"yes."

The professor then produced
two cups of coffee from under the table
And poured the entire contents
into the jar, effectively
filling the Empty space between the sand.
The students laughed.

"Now," said the professor,
as the laughter subsided,
"I want you to recognize that
this jar represents your life.
The golf balls are the important things -
God, family, children, health,
friends, and Favorite passions --
things that if everything else was lost
and only they remained,
your life would still be full.

The pebbles are the other things that matter
like your job, house, and car.

The sand is everything else --
the small stuff
<>"If you put the sand into the jar first,"
he continued,
"there is no room for
the pebbles or the golf balls.
The same goes for life.

If you spend all your time
and energy on the small stuff,
you will never have room for
the things that are
important to you.

So...

Pay attention to the things
that are critical to your happiness.
Play With your children.
Take time to get medical checkups.
Take your partner out to dinner.
Play another 18.

There will always be time
to clean the house
and fix the disposal.

"Take care of the golf balls first --
the things that really matter.
Set your priorities.
The rest is just sand."

One of the students raised her hand
and inquired what the coff ee represented.

The professor smiled.
"I'm glad you asked".

It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may
seem, there's always room for
a couple of cups of co ffee with a friend."

Please share this with
someone you care about.


I JUST DID.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Florida Still Flawed

Recently moving to the notoriously terrible administrate voting state, after living in Washington DC for the past eight years, I was overly eager to vote in this years’ historic primaries. The first time to vote for a black man or a women to be president in the United State, I was ready. I trained to be poll worker, read ballot information and attended several local political talks and public discussions about the referendums that were on this year’s ballot. Above all, I was excited that my personal vote for the primaries election would finally count. Yet, it didn’t.

After arriving to the Miami-Dade polling office, registering my id and signing my name two times, the older gentleman prepared the voting machine. He asked me to verify that the machine was correct! Thinking it must be okay, I voted for the referendums first. Then the red button was blinking; I pressed it wondering what about the primaries. The machine went to the home screen.

Wait! I want to vote for the first black man or women to be president in the United States, what happened? I went to ask what happened to my vote, and was quickly dismissed, as I hadn’t registered for a party, and that if I hit the red button then I had voted. But I hadn’t. When I registered to vote I declared my first time Democratic Party affiliation. After a rude bickering session, I relented. I didn’t have a chance to vote because the machine was not set up properly. Thus demonstrating Florida’s stilled flawed voting system.

Heidi Smith
Coral Gables, FL

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Feeling Yourself Disintegrate

Something you should know about Feeling Yourself Disintegrate Lyrics

Love in our life is just too valuable
Oh, to feel for even a second without it
But life without death is just impossible
Oh, to realize something is ending within us
Feeling yourself disintegrate

by: The Flaming Lips ---

Friday, January 11, 2008

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."

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

kenyan politics today

One important thing to recognize is the 2000 bad election in the United States. Al Gore won the popular vote and George Bush became president. They went to the courts who decided that GB could be president and Al Gore conceded. The same thing happened in mexico last year where the LEFTist party received more votes but the courts decided that Calderon be president. The left created chaos in streets, sleeping in the main plaza in Ciudad de Mexico for months. I think the succession took nearly 6 months where the left would not leave.

Democracy is not perfect. It is a people's institution for governance. And of course, it not as divine as God ruling over us, because it is man made. But part of democracy is letting go and fighting back again when the opportunity is right. Also, institutions matter on how they manage these tensions. BUT conflict can be good--it shows where there are inconsistencies in reality. I just heard about the FAMOUS MOU. I think that is terrible that both candidates would need to sit down like that and make decisions about how the country should be run. That shows the system is sick and broken. More candidates not running on tribal lines would help Kenyan Democracy. But that will take a long long time. We in the US are just finally seeing that a women and a black man do have a shot at being president... yet these things take time.

I just read something interesting. The Orange party has majority rule in the parliament. That is exactly the case when George Bush was elected. If I were Kenyan, I would be mad that Odinga would have back promises in a fancy country club. Fighting isn't about making compromises. I would pay more attention to how the parliament could rule. To me, its not correct to make back deals. That is unfair and doesn't work. I look for more integrity over a particular candidate.

Metropolitan Cooperation and Administration in Mexico

The Role of Metropolitan Cooperation and Administrative Capacity in Subnational Debt Dynamics: Evidence From Municipal Mexico Authors ...