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Showing posts from 2008


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.


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 i…

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 cou…

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 t…

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 touch…

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

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 unselfishne…

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 …

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 wit…

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..... 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 fa…

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 prog…

Hoy seguí de Entre Rios

Hoy seguí

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

sin descansar
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

hoy seguí artificios
como el sol

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 in…

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…

A State taking on Economic Development

When talking about economic development, take a look at this web site:

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.

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?

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

The professor then produced
two cups of coffee from under the table
And poured the entire contents
into the jar, effectively
filling the …

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 ma…

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 ---

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 mor…

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 can…