Thursday, December 22, 2011
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Sunday, December 18, 2011
"Hope is a state of mind, not of the world. Either we have hope or we don't; it is a dimension of the soul, and it's not essentially dependent on some particular observation of the world or estimate of the situation. Hope is not prognostication. It is an orientation of the spirit, and orientation of the heart; it transcends the world that is immediately experienced, and is anchored somewhere beyond its horizons ... Hope, in this deep and powerful sense, is not the same as joy that things are going well, or willingness to invest in enterprises that are obviously heading for success, but rather an ability to work for something because it is good, not just because it stands a chance to succeed. The more propitious the situation in which we demonstrate hope, the deeper the hope is. Hope is definitely not the same thing as optimism. It is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out."
Sunday, December 11, 2011
Did you know you can design and order traffic signs inexpensively online?
Friday, December 09, 2011
Wednesday, December 07, 2011
In addition to being a prize-winning screenwriter and nascent creator of compelling TV, my friend Joe Acton has spent 40 years as a successful entrepreneurial businessman. Almost alone amongst my acquaintances -- almost all of us somebody's employees, though some are executive employees -- he knows the sweaty reality of performing without a net.
So when he sent me this long rant and was too lazy to put it on his own blog, I decided to rip it off for mine. You might learn something, or at least be reminded of some things you already know. You might also laugh a time or two, and that's never a bad thing.
Q: Should we run government like a business?
A; Are you smarter than a fifth-grader?
by Joe Acton
I was watching Rachel Maddow last night and watched her get sucked down the rabbit hole as to whether or not Mitt Romney was showing a net gain or loss in job creation. Then today I get a blast email from somewhere lamenting that government should be run like business and so we need to elect a businessman as president, because Obama's never run a business. Well, I have run a business and I can tell you it not about creating jobs. Anyhow, I went off my nut and wrote this:
I’m blissfully tucked away in 1941 [note: a reference to his current screenwriting project; trust me, you're gonna love it] but keep getting distracted by the Idiot Right and the Ignorant Left back here in future former present.
Romney supporters – and others equally ill-informed – are saying that inasmuch as Romney has spent his career in the private sector, and given the success of those ventures, he knows how to create jobs. The Idiot Right claims that we need to run the government like a business and the Ignorant Left’s very clever response seems to be “Oh, yeah?”
The very idea that government should be run like a business demonstrates a shocking misunderstanding of governance. And the idea that business is at all interested in creating jobs illustrates that the overwhelming answer is “No” to Jeff Foxworthy’s question, “Are You Smarter Than A Fifth-Grader?”
First up: American business is not now, nor has it ever been about creating jobs. It is about creating profits, increasing value, and expanding private ownership. Job creation is – at best – a tertiary consideration. The first thing a businessman asks himself is “What can I sell?”; the second is, “What can I charge for it?” and the third is “How much will it cost?”
EIB scholars who want the government to be run like a business had better be prepared to pay an invoice from the fire department after they show up to put out the fire which was started by the Chinese Christmas lights the scholars bought from a company owned by a Romney-esque investment. If American business was aimed at creating jobs, they’d damn sure be creating them in the United States, not shipping them overseas. Repeat after me: “American business is about creating profits, not jobs.” You might want to wander into a US tattoo parlor and get that inked onto the back of your hand, because if Mitt Romney had anything to do with it you’d be planning a trip overseas to get that tattoo, thus increasing the job base of the transportation industry at the expense of the rather fractured tattoo business.
Next up: Governments are not supposed to be run like businesses, they are supposed to control and regulate businesses while they also protect and serve the citizens. When governments run like businesses they start to act like them, cutting corners, ignoring “maintenance”, ignoring all but the big markets – the list isn’t endless, but it’s impressive. Three quick ones come to mind: the Great Depression, the thrift market crash of the 80s-90s, and the Double Dip Recession that everyone says we’re not in, just like they said we weren’t in it to begin with. But don’t take my word for the idea that governments are supposed to regulate business, not imitate it. I didn’t dream up the EPA or OSHA. Richard Nixon did.
Bring up Richard Nixon’s name, though, and you’ve pretty much defined the boundaries for the Idiot Right and the Ignorant Left because everybody wants to hate him, they’re just generally wrong as to why.
The reason Nixon signed the EPA and OSHA, like him or not, was he recognized that business and government come to the table with competing motives; they cannot serve the same master; they are not interchangeable; they are not the same thing. They are so not the same thing that they don’t even share terms. Ask a businessman where he gets capital and the answer will be “investors”; ask a politician and the answer will be the “tax base”. One is voluntary, the other is not. And the road diverges quickly and widely from that not-so-small distinction.
If I were on the search committee to help Microsoft find a new CEO – and they desperately need one – I’d want someone with relevant experience. I probably wouldn’t interview the Secretary of the Department of Health and Social Services because I’m guessing that her experience isn’t as relevant as people actually in Microsoft’s industry.
But I’m not. I’m being asked to pick the head of our government. And as a criteria, I’m asked to consider skill sets that are both inapplicable and inappropriate. And worse, I’m given to understand that the people asking me to make this selection, do not themselves appreciate the distinction between government and business.
So let me climb down off my soap box before I fall off and hurt myself: government and business are not the same, cannot be run the same, and should not be run by people who believe that such skill sets are interchangeable.
Government is supposed to serve us all; businesses only a few. If the overarching question is whether I want a policy wonk who has only worked in government running the government, or do I want someone who has shown he can create jobs overseas running the government – I’m going with the policy wonk, every time. You see, I don’t live overseas, I live here – where the policies are going to apply.
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Thursday, October 06, 2011
Monday, October 03, 2011
Saturday, October 01, 2011
Thursday, September 22, 2011
quoted in The Third Culture (Brockman) ♨ More about me at http://flavors.me/howard
Saturday, September 17, 2011
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Sunday, September 04, 2011
Saturday, September 03, 2011
Every Labor Day weekend sidewalks at Fremont Park are decorated to raise money for school art programs.
Friday, September 02, 2011
Thursday, September 01, 2011
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Sunday, August 28, 2011
Saturday, August 27, 2011
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Saturday, August 20, 2011
Find a central metaphor that's so good everything aligns to it. Design meetings are no longer necessary...
Alan Kay is one of the genuinely seminal thinkers behind everything we know today as personal computing, starting with the work at Xerox Parc that inspired the desktop metaphor, mouse as input device, and etc.
"Find a central metaphor that's so good that everything aligns to it. Design meetings are no longer necessary, it designs itself. The metaphor should be crisp and fun.:
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Sunday, August 14, 2011
While going through old photos looking for material for my journalism memoir we came across this scrapbook from Barb's girlhood in Southern California. Two Rolling Stones concerts (including their first-ever in the U.S.) for a total ticket price of $8. She recalls the Beatles weren't much more.
Saturday, August 13, 2011
"Perry revels in a muscular brand of ignorance (Rush Limbaugh is a personal hero), one that extends to the ever-fascinating history of the Lone Star State. Twice in the last two years he’s broached the subject of Texas seceding from the union.“When we came into the nation in 1845 we were a republic, we were a stand-alone nation,” says Perry in a 2009 video that has just surfaced. “And one of the deals was, we can leave any time we want. So we’re kind of thinking about that again.”He can dream all he wants about the good old days when Texas left the nation to fight for the slave-holding states of the breakaway confederacy. But the law will not get him there. There is no such language in the Texas or United States’ constitutions allowing Texas to unilaterally “leave any time we want.”But Texas is special. By many measures, it is the nation’s most polluted state. Dirty air and water do not seem to bother Perry. He is, however, extremely perturbed by the Environmental Protection Agency’s enforcement of laws designed to clean the world around him. In a recent interview, he wished for the president to pray away the E.P.A."
Thursday, August 11, 2011
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
Tuesday, August 09, 2011
Friday, August 05, 2011
Thursday, August 04, 2011
Tuesday, August 02, 2011
Sunday, July 31, 2011
"[Franzen] tells the Kenyon 21-year-olds, who were likely texting throughout the ceremony, that they need more love. If the sub-30-year-olds with whom I've worked are typical, these young men and women love — each other, or bands, or ideas — too much, they love too often, with a feral intensity and with the constant assistance of mobile devices. Maybe what he was telling them is that they should be more old.
" speech recalls another, very different commencement speech, by Apple CEO Steven Jobs to the 2005 class of Stanford. Jobs is the embodiment of California, all gold rush, less city-on-hill. At Stanford he invoked the Whole Earth Catalog as "one of the bibles of my generation" — its cut-and-paste aesthetic, hippie cheer, and promise of access to information a balm for his late-adolescent soul. The Whole Earth Catalog was a DIY-bible assembled by former Merry Prankster Stewart Brand, far from the clanking Epiphanator. "We are as gods," reads the preface, "and we might as well get good at it."
Saturday, July 30, 2011
Smart enough to grasp the basic issues, fair enough to summarize them and their critics, Gleick's overview -- drawn from reviews of a half-dozen current books -- is a good introduction to a subject I think needs attention: Google's march to global information hegemony.
Friday, July 29, 2011
Sacre Boves Optimus Hamburgerus Fiant. Close enough for the girls we went with.
We tried to make our intentions clear. Early on we seized on a motto suggested by a Daily News colleague and attributed variously to everybody from Mark Twain to Abbie Hoffman: Sacred Cows Make the Best Hamburger. We wanted to class it up a bit, so photog and art director Ken Roberts, a seminarian in his younger days, dusted off his Latin for a rough translation:
More about Howard
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Sunday, July 24, 2011
Saturday, July 23, 2011
Friday, July 22, 2011
"Twitter isn’t for everyone. I get that. But it’s definitely my one true social media gal pal. It took the formula put out by Myspace and Facebook and flipped it on its ear. Twitter is the beat poetry version of social media. It’s some crass noisy combination of soapbox-shouting, flea-market-hawking, carnival-barking, stand-up-joke-telling, and haiku-having. It’s got the motion and madness of a city street with all its sounds and smells. Twitter is ever the low but persistent hum. I merely need to tune into its Zen frequencies for a time. It requires no massive investment. It demands little of me. I splash about in its waters like a spider monkey who has never before played in the ocean. Splish-splash.
"But — but!
"Twitter is shit for conversation."
If that resonates with you, I'd encourage you to visit the site and try his thinking on for size.
Thursday, July 21, 2011
"Perhaps the most crucial determinant of perceptions of bias in the news, however, is the extent to which news coverage is seen as disagreeing with one’s own views. Individuals who feel most strongly about an issue tend to see their own side’s views as being more a product of objective analysis and normative concerns, and less influenced by ideology, than the other side’s views (Robinson, Keltner, Ward, & Ross, 1995)."
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Sunday, July 17, 2011
Friday, July 15, 2011
Thursday, July 14, 2011
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
Monday, July 11, 2011
Sunday, July 10, 2011
Saturday, July 09, 2011
Friday, July 08, 2011
Wednesday, July 06, 2011
"It is more important that innocence be protected than it is that guilt be punished, for guilt and crimes are so frequent in this world that they cannot all be punished. But if innocence itself is brought to the bar and condemned, perhaps to die, then the citizen will say, “whether I do good or whether I do evil is immaterial, for innocence itself is no protection,” and if such an idea as that were to take hold in the mind of the citizen that would be the end of security whatsoever." via http://daringfireball.net/
Information about Howard