March 2005 Archives

Johnnie Cohran remembered

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I learned last evening that a renowned defense attorney passed away. I did not believe the news, and after confirming the source, I was taken aback.

Although, I am not an attorney, Cochran certainly was an inspiration. He spoke truth to power. Moreover, Cochran typified an uncomprising presence for a penal system wasn't always color blind. He's represented some very high-profile defendants. What is probably little known is that he did alot of work for the grassroots population too.

I believe he served as a stark reminder that justice doesn't always have to be one-sided.

Superstar Lawyer Johnnie Cochran Dead at age sixty-seven

Social Security myth

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Actually, I had not spent too much time thinking about our struggling federal program, Social Security. Sadly, I really do not believe it will be available to help me, once I reach eligibility. There are very aggressive investment programs that are available for my generation, that would protect me from the pending collapse of this federal program.

Recently President Bush passed a bill that supposedly helps African-Americans. Our president claims that as a group African-Americans typically do not live as long as their Caucasion counterparts. While his point is debateable, we do know that regardless of ethnic origin, Americans are generally living much longer than forty years ago. So, if this federal program is to really help anyone, creative financing of Social Security may not be the answer.

William E. Spriggs, a senior fellow at the Economic Policy Institute wrote a very interesting article.

Busting the Social Security Myths

Economic Policy

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I watched a very intriguing telecast yesterday, which addressed the dire financial straits of the city of Detroit.
Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick assembled a team of policy makers and economicists to put a strategy in place that would halt the city decay. Although, I was too young to remember the details behind NYC, and its bankruptcy filing, I do know that Albany bailed out the city. I imagine that the aftermath was not very pretty at all. Well, Detroit is speeding down the same path. At last report there is a shortfall of $75M in state funding, as the state of MI. is forced to deal with its own problems. I believe the city has budget deficit of $225M. Much of the conversation has been structured around lowering the property taxes, but this is only the tip of the iceburg. There are more people leaving the city than those moving to the city. Detroit has a difficult time retaining its human capital. I discussed this phenomenom in an earlier posting.

There wll be some tough choices made in the next few weeks. Certainly, there will be many casualties.
Economist David Osborne gave some very compelling arguments in favor of 're-inventing' local government, and other very interesting solutions. He also stated that Detroit must discover its value proposition. Specifically, the very dated notion that Detroit can survive on its yesteryear automotive industry. All of that industry moved out of the downtown area long ago.

Most of the other 'rust-belt' cities have figured out how to 're-invent' themselves. A prime example is Indianapolis, it too predicated its livelihood on a manufacturing economy. When it became apparent that the manufacturing market was moving offshore, Indy decided to become the amateur sports capital of the world. It seems to be working for them. What will become of Detroit?

It will definitely be rough seas for the forseable future, and the ship is already taking on water. I've got my life raft and vest stowed and within arms reach.

Lucky Break?

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Ahh.. Spring is almost upon us. I am brimming with excitement of the prospect of Bx Bombers avenging their defeat at the hands of the hated Sux err I mean Bosox. I'm confident that the road to the World Series will again go through the Bronx.

It appears the maligned San Francisco outfielder, Barry Bonds will be out for the remainder of the year.
Speculation has it that MLB, may pressure Bonds to retire prematurely admist the allegations of illegal performance enhancing drugs. BALCO scandal aside, Bonds really has not been a fan of the media, and now that he is suffering from knee ailments, he may actually catch a break, by sitting out the rest of the year.

Clearly, the media sharks were circling and tasted blood. Whether you like him or not, I really did enjoy watching him hit the long ball. He may never get the chance to break Hank Aaron's record.

Baseball's Lucky Break

RSS Feeds

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A few changes to discuss, I've made it much easier for people to stay current on my blog entries. Actually, I most likely reduce the email notices.
Basically, the RSS feeds includes special XML syntax, which permits aggregation by XML compliant readers.
So you'll need to install a news aggregator.

However, if you're on the move, you will probably prefer a web browser based client such as, bloglines. It is a pretty cool aggregator, and gives you access to news feeds from any computer.

My various feeds are prominently displayed as colorful icons below my mugshot.

Update: Pretty good article describing RSS for non-techies.What the heck is RSS.

Contraption

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Ok. All of you Rube Goldberg fans will like this one. Discovered this complex machine while doing some routine surfing.
Take a look at this short movie
If you are bandwidth challenged, you might simply wish to see the contraption photos.

Demise of Sony

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I know most of you have at one time used a Sony electronics device. Actually, I was a very proud owner of the now classical Sony Walkman. What a relic. Recent developments have shaken the once very solid foundation at the multimedia giant.
Innovationseems to be lacking and many of its competitors have closed the gap.

It appears that Samsung has emerged from relative obscurity to pose a serious threat to Sony. I have purchased three Samsung cell phones in the past five years. At present, I only own one Sony electronic device, that would be a SCSI CD-RW 10x24x32. I purchased this approximately 7yrs ago. You do the math. How many Sony devices do you own?

Samsung Is Now What Sony Once Was

Some people take great pride in the belief that our country has made substantial improvements, in granting access to women and minorities, in the fields of science and engineering. We usually get a stark reminder in the form of an inappropriate comment or some weird revelation from an educational institution.

Recently, the former occured on the campus of Harvard University. Unfortunately, it serves as a clear reminder that we still have a long way to go. Achieving true equity for women and minorities in technical fields will take many generations. Today I had the occasion to read another indictment on the often under-represented group. The culprit was none other than Lawrence H. Summers, Harvard U. president.

The author of the article,
Larry's Taste complained about some the statements that Larry made during an equity symposium. After reading the aforementioned article, I believe the author focused on the wrong aspects of the talk. No doubt, there is much to dispute in Summers's talk, but instead it would have been better to challenge Summers to go out and hire the appropriate research team to validate his claims. Essentially, bring in the research team to find answers to his own questions. The transcript is rife with supposition and incongruent analogies. For instance, Summers wishes to have someone 'marshal' evidence to refute the idea that women generally opt to raise families and would rather not labor through an eighty-hour work week. He also challenged the audience to go out and measure the long-term success of marginal the candidates who were admitted under a quota preference. Although the talk is quite lengthy, it's really a worthwhile read.

See Harvard President's speech

Unfortunately, the talk smells very much like the infamous
Bell Curve text, co-authored by Charles Murray. Ironically, he too was a Harvard graduate. I only read half of this book, which was written nearly a decade ago. I was nauseated half-way through the text, hopefully you can stomach Summers dialogue.

Chapter 7 - Bankruptcy Musings

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In case some of you were unaware, a new bill has passed to supposedly assist the struggling middle-class citizen. More often than not these 'help' programs are really clandestine efforts to enforce financial servitude.

This article describes some of the prospects of the new bill. Interersting read.
Help Tech – Jail the Poor

Printed media in the digital age

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In keeping with the theme discussed in an earlier essay, its useful to note that technology moves faster than social change. So as a result, companies are scrambling to deal with the consequences of the digital era. Traditional media outlets have been hardest hit. In an earlier post, I described the impact on television and its scramble to protect its so-called intellectual property. Well, the newspapers are now faced with the same dilemna. Googlewill soon begin archiving works that have expired copyright. So, next it will be libraries that will have to scramble to innovate.
Brewster Kahle discusses libraries and their value proposition.

The article below describes some of the issues that printed media faces, as it tries to contend with the Digital Era.
Can Papers End the Free Ride Online ?

What is a community?

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I have been struggling with this concept for quite awhile. More specifically, as it pertains to 'virtual' communities. I am a technical person, as such I have little experience with matters involving anthropology or social science. Clearly, the idea of bridging a gap between people of similar or dissimilar backgrounds is quite intriguing. In fact, I would venture to guess that this is very perplexing for even the most skilled social scientist.

Well before the internet exploded into what would later be called the wide world web, people were attempting to share ideas and thoughts via computers. The crux of this virtual dialogue was research and technology exchange. One could compare this activity to the local open air produce market. Lots of conversation, unbridled bartering and exchange. In the late 90's, websites began to populate the virtual landscape. Everyone had a story to tell and content to share. Unfortunately, during this embryonic state, much of the 'data' was of the push variety. In other words, there was static content which did not easily lend itself to interactive exchange with the author of the data. Additionally, as these websites began to proliferate exponentially, it became increasingly difficult locate the data to help connect the people who wanted desperately to share critical ideas and concepts.

Break from the ordinary

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For all of you who think that I'm all work and no play.
Check out one of the elements of hip-hop, that I love so well.
Breakdance

If you want to see others, check out Cool Clips.

Bluetooth Sniper

Pretty humorous, but technically cool. If none of you have yet purchased your first Bluetooth device. I would say that you're missing out on a neat piece of technology.

However, regardless of how well you secure your new Blackberry, someone will always be able to sniff and snoop on your data.

Boing Boing: HOWTO build a Bluetooth "sniper rifle"

Peek and you lose

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I know that this is somewhat stale, but a few of you are MBA candidates, so I figured the article would be noteworthly. Apparently, applicants for the 2007 HBS class, gained access to 'ding' letters. Unfortunately, the school to the tough stance and rejected all those who were thought to be guilty.

I have a buddy who attends HBS, but he has not commented on the scandal.

What is impressive is the craftiness of the business school student, they should not be taken lightly.
I take back all of my smug comments.

None of the 119 will be admitted

It also appears that at least one of the 119 rejected applicants has made fun of his plight.

Petrol Crisis

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Drastic times calls for drastic measures. I know my Tri-State area family are probably grinning now. Everybody in the wilderness of the Midwest are struggling with these ridiculous gas prices. It really is criminal. If I had a rifle, I'd go looking for Bush and his oil cronies. It appears gas prices will reach an apex of $3.50 this summer. I was too young to understand the impact of the 70's gas crisis, but I understand people got knocked over the head for petrol.

Could it happen again?? You'd better believe it. It really sucks not having access to mass transit. Nonetheless, I have decided to purchase a pedal bike this Spring. I will probably be the strongest brotha in MI. I refuse to be pimped at the pump. Came across a very interesting site, cannot substatiate its accuracy, but I will go out tomorrow and track down a few locations.

Brace for Summer, and watch your back, it is going to get very ugly out there.
Cars! Cars! Cars!: Cheap Gas and How To Find It

New Beginnings

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Just a few housekeeping items..

Some of you have been unable to post comments. I figured it would be wise to explain some of the changes I've implemented to counter the comment spam. When posting a comment, you must first select preview. After previewing, then select post. This strategy assures that your message won't be rejected or throttled. Hopefully this will clear up any confusion.
Please be advised that all first-time commenters will be moderated, after I review the comment for its authenticity and content, I will then publish it.

Still confused ? Send me a msg and we'll talk.

Now, onto the real news...

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This page is an archive of entries from March 2005 listed from newest to oldest.

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